For those of my readers not familiar with the fire department mentality, let me tell you a bit.
They say we're a 'paramilitary' organization. I don't think so, but the idea is that we have ranks, and we follow orders...sometimes. At an emergency scene, orders are followed immediately. Back at the station, the rank structure is a bit more lax. The police in our city can't understand it, how we can jump through hoops for our captain on a scene, and then argue with him at the station. I don't know either, but that's the way it is.
But, back to the ranks thing. At least my department is kinda big on the seniority of a member. What I mean is that I normally look up to and respect those guys who have been here longer than I have. Some have even taken that to another level and started the "station seniority". I laugh at it. Basically they keep up with who has been at a given station longer, and thus has seniority there. It's usually the guys who have less than 3-5 years that do that. It's about the only way they have seniority over anybody.
Even so, when a new guy graduates the fire academy, and comes out on duty, he is the Rookie. He is the lowest guy of all. He gets all the dirty jobs. Need a guy to wipe a patients poo off their butt so we can put them on the stretcher? The Rookie does it. Need a guy to help shovel out the ashes after a fire, the Rookie does it. You get the idea. They even get their own nickname: Rook or Rookie.
One of our Driver Engineers, started telling the Rookies a story and giving them a new nickname. I have continued the tradition. He put his arm around the rookie and told him "Today, you're somebody!" He said that from now on, until a new rookie comes along, your name is somebody. When you hear the Captain say "Somebody needs to take out that trash." He means you. When you hear one of the older guys say somebody needs to go to the store, it's you they are talking about. If you overhear the guys talking saying somebody better clean that up, clean it up.
"Yes", he would tell them "you really are somebody now."
I just hope somebody appreciates how much I care.