Last Sunday, I planned to meet E.S. for lunch during the gay pride march. Uncharacteristically, I was on time; even more uncharacteristically, he was late. “I’m sorry I’m late,” he said, “but I was watching the parade and the gay policemen and firemen came by, so I couldn’t leave.”
I’ve known for some time that E.S. is a sucker for a man in uniform, but I didn’t know that the effect was so strong as to overcome his almost pathological compulsion to be on time.
This started me thinking. “I know E.S. is really into me and thinks I’m really sexy,” I thought. “But if I become a fireman, then he’ll think I’m even sexier than he already does.” I started fantasizing about life as a fireman, going out and saving lives and then coming home all dirty and sweaty and having E.S. massage my sore muscles and strip off my fireman’s uniform and–well, you get the idea. Plus, becoming a fireman would allow me to do something with my life that helped people in a very real and concrete way–I mean, writing pretty music is all well and good, but sometimes the benefits to humanity are a little hard to make out.
In any case, the more I thought about it, the more excited I got. Finally, yesterday, I went to the New York Fire Department web site and started investigating.
And was stopped cold by the realization that I am too old to become a fireman. To be eligible to take the open-competitive Firefighters Examination, you have to be under 29 years old; the next exam is in October of 2006, at which point I will be 33.
Devastated, I called E.S. and told him all about the destruction of my dream. He consoled me with the information that, if I’m too old to become a fireman, it also means I’m too old to develop schizophrenia.
I told him the voices said he was wrong.