a writer's journal - politics, music, american culture, esoteric aspects of life, and stories

Wednesday

What makes Galveston unique - 1

In a what will hopefully be a continuing series of edutainment installments where I will be bringing you Galveston trivia, I was pleased to note this morning that the main fire engine in town is named "Aggressor", as blazoned on all four sides.  I wasn't aware that fire trucks got names like boats and nitro-burning funny cars.  It's a good name, though; at first you'd think that an item like that should have a name implying how it protects the community or is the reddest vehicle in town, but from the perspective of the firefighters, here we have a powerful machine that seeks out a dangerous foe proactively, and blasts it before it can do too much damage.  It's a strong word that fits the firefighter ethos well, I would think.  Fits with our american ethos.  It falls into that class of words with deep ambiguity on the etymological side, because in Latin it simply means "one who steps forward" but in English (and French, where we get it) it has a military provenance and thus sounds violent.  But "one who steps forward" is a first-responder, a selfless volunteer; a good fit.

I stepped forward to boldly inquire of the fireman who was polishing its brass or something.  He impressively confirmed my question about the truck's name, and told me that although the other support vehicles at the station weren't formally named, he did think of them all as males, not females, as when for example they need maintenance, e.g. "he's coughin' up some smoke."
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