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Ed Matlack

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American Medi-Wheels
By Ed Matlack
Saturday, January 31, 2004

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We were all just EMT's doing our job, but sometimes our jobs also "did" us...pranks at their best in the ambulance field of endeavor...

            Not sure if anyone out there will find this of interest,

               or funny or whatever but I hope you all will at least

               read it, as I find I am not too good at short stories,

               so I am giving it a shot…by the way, read Dan

                Summerfield’s short story, “Darrell & I”, it was the

                reason for my writing this funny memory in short

                               story form… thanks, ED

   (names were not changed to protect the innocent as no one was innocent)





Driving for an ambulance company, either emergency or just plain transport, made for quite stressful days & nights. we started mostly

in the early morning hours and continued for long days till late in the afternoon or early evening…


Tricks were played on a daily basis, just kinda fun stuff, as far as we were concerned.

In example, things like pulling into an emergency room & having one of our “rigs” parked there as they would be either dropping off a patient or picking one up to go home or wherever. While they were there, they were unlocked, and open to whatever “HIJINX” (sp?), we could come up with, and there were some great pranksters in our midst at that time.

For instance, turning on all the flashing lights & siren sounds, so when the driver got in and started the rig, it all would start to flash and the siren would scream and make everyone in the whole neighborhood jump our of their skin…or just turn on the radio, the two way and the am-fm full blast would be what they would do too.


It all seemed to be quite funny till one day the boss caught the action at the hospital, admitted it was damn funny, but think of the patient either in the rig or nearby, if they had heart problems, well anything could happen, and of course we all knew being EMT’s  (Emergency Medical Technicians) that he was right and this had to stop, at least with the ambulance’s…;)


Our company also had vehicles called Wheelchair Transport vans or IC (Invalid coach), which I enjoyed as no one was with me on the rig, only the patient & the boss could only reach me via radio, long before the advent of cell phones, fortunately! So, now the pranks started with them, mostly the radio being turned up, full blast, and the heater or a/c controls being put on at high settings…all fun, all friends playing games with others and it took the stress off to some degree.


One night I got back to base, in NJ, and had this idea, never had it been done, nor from what I felt, even thought of. All the vans were supplied with a generous amount of tie down straps for securing the wheelchairs etc. Well, I got into one of the vans, one driven by a young lady by the nickname of “Flipper”, all of us had some sort of nickname, mine being “Fruit Loops”, DON’T ASK!


Anyway, she had gone home by then and I had the rig all to my own devices, we all had our “own” vans so I knew she would be in it the next day.


I took the tie down straps and arranged them to tie all the doors shut, only able to open them a hair, but not enough to access the interior of the vehicle, she would not be able to get into her truck and could not figure out how to do so, not even the boss that day could figure that out. By the time she got in I had been in since early morning and she would have to call me on the radio to find out how to get into her truck. Both front doors, the sliding passengers side door and both back doors were, for all intents and purposes, un-useable &

she was having a fit, I am told…


Finally she was “forced” to call me on the radio and find out how to get in or get it open enough to remove the straps & like that. I think it was the only time in my life that I was so ingenious enough to really stump someone, not being much of a prankster before or after.


So, the way it was done, was to strap all the doors shut, then to climb out the drivers side window and use the drivers side wing window (these old Ford vans had that little vent window back then) to reach my hand in and roll up the regular window so that, if you didn’t know the wing window was not locked, you couldn’t access the interior of the van. But by just pushing the wing window open, and reaching in, a long reach was necessary, then rolled down the main window and climb into the van to un-tie, as it were, the straps, they  being of a ratchet variety having to un-ratchet them to get them undone…


Twas’ a pain in the ass for her to do it, but it had to be the funniest thing, especially as I was parked across the street in the post office watching the whole thing…damn I wish they had camcorders back then…!



                         LONG WINDED FOR YOU!



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Reviewed by Leann Marshall 3/11/2008
This was an interesting read, Ed--or should I say Fruit Loops.
Seems the more high stress our jobs are, the more outrageous the pranks. I'm glad you weren't a brain surgeon, though. ;)
Thanks for sharing this.
Reviewed by m j hollingshead 5/8/2004
Reviewed by Sylina C 2/26/2004
We really had fun, didn't we? Thanks for a great trip down memory lane.
Reviewed by Bobbie Hess 2/1/2004
Now why would we think any different than what you told on yourself, Fruit Loops? I'm sure you had good times! I guess we would all have to admit to pranks now and again. So, what did Flipper do to get you back, huh? Enjoyed! b
Reviewed by Scooter Marett 1/31/2004
You are in good company
The most interesting people always seize the opportunity
for a good prank.
Some cops I know still get rookies with the old siren bit.
good write

Reviewed by Dan Summerfield 1/31/2004

You told it well, and I know all about you EMT people and what happens. Watch for an e-mail (or perhaps a poem) soon on the experiences I've heard about.

Good write.

Dan S.
Reviewed by Karen Lynn Vidra, The Texas Tornado 1/31/2004
this is cute, ed; you are a natural-born storyteller! never sell yourself short! enjoyed~

(((HUGS))) and much love, your friend in tx., karen lynn. :D
Reviewed by Kate Clifford 1/31/2004
Stressful work brings out the prankster's :-) Its a good thing!
Thanks for the sharing........Fruit Loops
Reviewed by Mr. Ed 1/31/2004
Wasn't long-winded at all, Mr. 'Fruit Loops!' Enjoyed this very much since besides loving animals, I've been a prankster my entire life - still am - and it still gets me in trouble - but I do it anyway!

I would have loved watching 'Flipper' in her frustration that day!!

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