Can you dig it?

The fire department shouldn't have to ask.

By Charles P. Pierce
February 6, 2011

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Dear Ron Ayotte: Since it is apparent that we are going to have snowstorms this winter that range from “nor’easter” to “partial fulfillment of Mayan doomsday prophecy” on the general scale of inconvenience, I read with great appreciation your appeal to the people of Marlborough to “adopt a fire hydrant” in their neighborhood – which is to say, to take on the job of clearing one out every time an apocalyptic weather event comes roaring out of the Channel 7 newsroom and into the real world. I would expect no less from you as the city’s deputy fire chief. I am also happy that your call has not been greeted with the usual broadcast fulminating that Government can’t make us do stuff if we don’t wanna do it, nyah-nyah-nyah. People seem cool with the notion that maybe there isn’t much nanny state involved in the position that firefighters ought not to have to take a few minutes to break out the shovels when the orphanage down the block is going up in flames. Which brings me to the point of this letter. When did it become necessary for a deputy fire chief to remind the public about stuff like this? When did we stop thinking things like “You know, maybe it would be a good thing if I took 10 minutes to dig out the hydrant, rather than letting the entire block burn down”? So now we have to slap our name on something that we ought to do by second nature? I blame TV.

Charles P. Pierce can be reached at

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