When I was a kid, I watched a lot of television. Too much, probably. One show that was clean and square and, by today’s standards, unwatchably predictable, was Emergency!, a show about the burgeoning paramedic program in Los Angeles.
The hour-long show was so structured that you could set your watch by the formula: their first couple of calls were to heart attack victims so they could show off their life-saving skills, followed by some whacky rescue of a man with his head in a blender or a cat in an air duct for comic relief, followed in the last 15 minutes of the show by a big fire, usually at a warehouse downtown or in the mountains above the Los Angeles basin.
I don’t know who or what you wanted to be as you were growing up, but I when I wasn’t pretending to fly the starship Enterprise, I was driving Squad 51, talking on that suitcase radio to the doctors at Rampart General, or defibrillating pretty much everyone. I wanted to be on Squad 51.
I tell you this because today I turned 51.