My company stresses appearances.

This is not necessarily a bad thing. I drive a large ambulance with bright stripes, lots of flashing lights, and a two-foot high corporate logo on the side. It’s a rolling billboard. Everything I do in it reflects on me and my coworkers. No matter how pure our motives, if we look like idiots while doing our job there will be trouble. At best there may be a complaint; at worst we could be the next YouTube sensation and star in our own Firegeezer post.

This carries over into my personal life. I’m proud of who I am and what I do, but I don’t feel the need to broadcast it 24/7/365. Sometimes it’s good to be just another guy in the crowd. I have become very conscious of when and where I wear department apparel. My cars are subtle; while I do have red lights in my truck, they are hidden when not in use. I don’t drive around sporting a light bar or a bunch of extra antennas. The car wears a W6 decal and that’s it.

This all comes about because you never know who might be watching.

So if you are going to have a $4,000 light bar and 3 antennas on your personal vehicle, please don’t drive like an idiot on the way to your next call. What would ever possess you to add a distinctive vanity license plate like PARAGD, MEDIC9, ENGN51, or (God forbid) your unique county radio ID?!

I say again: if you insist on standing out from the crowd, be on your best behavior. DON’T BE AN IDIOT!!!

Because, you know, that guy in the non-descript gray pickup that you just cut off might know a thing or two about the right way to do your job. He might even know your chief.