Volunteers Needed

“Volunteers Needed,” was the subject line of the department-wide email sent out on Friday morning. Normally, I would just delete such an email without opening it, but my only option was to read the other unopened emails in my inbox which were titled, “This is the third time I’ve requested this report,” and “Christ, does anyone even work in the marketing department?!” so it seemed to be my best alternative.
The email read as follows:

As you all know, Valhalla Inc. is committed to providing employees with a safe work environment. In the event of an emergency, we need to be prepared to react quickly and ensure the safety of all employees. Currently, however, we are very short-handed on our fire safety team.
Additionally, we don’t have anyone on our side of the floor who is CPR/AED certified. Please contact me if you are interested in volunteering for either of these opportunities. Thank you!

I almost wished I had just deleted it because now, having heard the cry for help, I couldn’t ignore it. But… me? On the fire safety team? The last time we had a fire drill, I limped for a week after having to trudge down the 23 flights of stairs. Being on the fire safety team is a big responsibility. It means that in the event of a fire, I would have to don a blaze orange vest and cap, calmly direct everyone to the nearest fire exit, and stay behind to ensure that everyone had safely cleared the floor before heading down myself.
And while the “staying behind” part might seem the scariest, what concerns me the most is wearing that orange cap. I’ll put the vest on, no problem, but do you have any idea what my hair looks like in a baseball cap? I was never one of those girls who could look cute in a cap, all sporty, yet still sexy, the kind of girl who might pull a ponytail through the back of her hat, so it would swing rhythmically while she walked down the street.
Sadly, this is really what my hair looks like in a baseball cap:
Now, some people may read this and think, “Oh, that Jenny. She’s just exaggerating again for the sake of humor.” And my response to those sweetly naïve people is, “You’re very kind, but no, I’m not exaggerating.”
If you need any further proof, let me share with you this photo I dug out of the box of nostalgia I recently reclaimed from my mother’s house. Behold, my softball photo from what I’m guessing is about 1980 or 1981, so I would have been about nine or ten years old. See if you can find me.
[click to enlarge]
Having trouble? Here’s a closeup:
Now just try to imagine a baseball cap on top of that melon. It’s not a pretty sight, trust me. This photo also serves as partial explanation as to why I was mistaken for a boy until I was about 28.
I replied to the email, stating that I was interested in volunteering, but wanted to find out if the orange cap was optional. I added that I would gladly carry the cap and use it to direct my colleagues to the nearest fire exit. But the response was that wearing the cap, along with the blaze orange vest, was non-negotiable.
This left me with no alternative but the CPR/AED training. Like many people, the only experience I had with CPR was from my junior high school health class. I remember well the awkward moment when we each had to kneel down in front of the legless Resusci® Anne and give her mouth-to-mouth, but only after sterilizing her gaping and teenage germ infested mouth with isopropyl alcohol.
“If I hear any more giggling, I will start handing out detentions!” yelled the health teacher/wrestling coach/girl’s basketball coach. “CPR is no joke!”
Would there be similar snickers from my colleagues? What if, just as I began the chest compressions, my VP yelled, “OHMIGOD! Jenny totally just got to second base with Resusci® Anne!” Would I blush? Would the instructor throw him out?
And then, what if I actually have to someday use my new skills? What if I have to breathe life into the limp body of that accounting clerk who refuses to add me to the distribution list for monthly P&L’s, even though I’ve asked her to add me at least seventeen times? What if I have to sweep her mouth clear of vomit with my bare fingers? Will I hesitate? Might I choke under pressure?
I hope I’ll never have to find out, but after my corporate sponsored training sessions in a couple weeks, I will be known by all as Jenny Amadeo, CPR/AED trained associate for the southwest side of the 23rd floor. It has a nice ring to it, I think.

23 Responses to “Volunteers Needed”

  1. jaymarie Says:

    you were (are) soooo cute. why would anyone try to put such a perfect head of hair under a hat? crazies.
    oh yes, there would be snickers, and, yes, you would blush – at least that is how it would be if i were in class with you.

  2. Tracy Lynn Says:

    Don’t worry, Jen, they have a mouth thingy that you use to protect you from germs and stuff, and yes, mouth thingy is the technical term.
    And I totally get the hat issue. I had a perm when I was ten. Your hair looks MUCH better.

  3. jenny Says:

    Jaymarie: Ah, you’re sweet. But when you look at all the other girls in that photo with their parted in the middle, feathered hair, it was definitely a challenge to try to blend in. And I’m afraid you cannot join me in my CPR class – you’ll get us BOTH thrown out! ;)
    Tracy Lynn: They have mouth thingies now? That’s so much nicer! We had to go mouth-to-plastic back in the day. (and when are you posting a perm picture?)

  4. peefer Says:

    Well, at least if somebody dies in your care, despite you heroic efforts to resuscitate, they will have spent their last minutes warmed and comforted by a caring nest of hair.

  5. Tara Says:

    I’d feel safer with you around, no matter what the hair sans or with cap is doing.

  6. Cheryl Says:

    As a fellow curly-head, I believe you about the cap. I’m more on the wavy side, but I’m still a long way from sorority-girl-on-a-study-break cute. And my younger sister’s hair is so curly she’s vowed never to marry a curly-haired man unless they decide to adopt.
    And second base? Jenny, are you planning on grabbing Resusci® Anne’s boob?

  7. Kevin Says:

    I am my office’s fire marshall as well. Not necessarily fun. But it gives me a chance to misdirect those that tick me off during a given week when a storm comes by. Guess it helps that I’m a licensed EMT-B, eh?

  8. jenny Says:

    Peefer: or perhaps suffocated by the caring nest of my hair…
    Tara: Well, thanks! Can you please transfer to my company so that someone can vouch for my life-saving skillz?
    Cheryl: What? Isn’t that how you’re supposed to do it? Now I suppose you’re gonna tell me I can’t use tongue either.
    Kevin: Maybe we can get matching orange vests and hang out at the mall sometime. That would ROCK!

  9. Anonymous Says:

    Dear Jenny,
    You were an absolutely adorable little boy. You were Anton Yelchin before he was.

  10. dee-dee Says:

    That is truly the cutest photo ever!

  11. Dean Says:

    I’m worried about you. In that photograph of you wearing the ball cap, your skin looks a little blue and your eyes look a little funny.
    Also, your nose is missing.
    Are you feeling OK?

  12. jenny Says:

    Vivian: Sticks and stones, Viv. Sticks and stones. [rocks slowly back and forth in chair, muttering, “I am a girl. I am a girl. Jenny’s a pretty girl. She’s a girl. I am not a boy…”]
    Dee: No, I think the cutest one is you with you giant glasses when you were three. Let me post that!
    Dean: Actually, I just realized that if you white out my eyes and mouth in that drawing, and the “C” in my hat, I look exactly like a duck. Strange.

  13. Dustin Says:

    Jenny, I totally understand where you’re coming from about the curls.
    My own hair has two lengths: 1. Cap-able (shorter than an inch) 2. Non-Cap-able (longer than 1 inch). I just reached the non-cap-able length about two weeks ago…very sad.

  14. sandra Says:

    You can do it, Jenny! I couldn’t, though…my stinking melon is so large that normal hats do not sit on it with any ease. And really, I’m not sure anyone is prepared to die of smoke inhalation while I try to shove my enormous head into a small hat. It just wouldn’t work out well. And the thought of ordering a large orange hat? Too much to bear.

  15. hooizz Says:

    for some reason when i look at your sketch, i cant stop hearing the red bull ‘gives you wings’ slogan.
    OMG you’re right, you almost could be a duck. ha!

  16. ms. sizzle Says:

    you are right about the cap, steer clear. and the vomit sweeping thingy? eww. i hope you never have to do it. but i have faith that you will be an excellent 23rd floor cpr-er. gooooo jenny!
    p.s. love the mash shirt that kid in the photo is wearing. ;)

  17. jenny Says:

    Dustin: I’ve never felt as understood as I do right now. I’m starting a support group for the curly-headeds of the world. Who’s with me?!
    Sandra: I have always tricked people into thinking that my hair is the only reason I can’t wear baseball hats. Really, my head – with or without hair – is just enormous. What’s a melonhead to do?
    hooizz: It kind of does look like that ad, doesn’t it? :)
    Sizz: Isn’t that shirt the best? I have absolutely no recollection of who that boy was, but he had some fine fashion sense.

  18. Jessica Says:

    Hey, I was mistaken for a boy, too!!! Mainly because my parents insisted on cutting my hair short and dressing me in boy clothes. I was even called “son” occasionally by strange men.
    Talk about expensive therapy!

  19. ashbloem Says:

    Ooooo, I was just telling American Boy that I had to do this for the office in Amsterdam where I worked, and we got to do this cool thing where we actually put out fires in a building! I felt really BAD ASS! I hope you get to do that.

  20. 3rdtimesacharm( 3T ) Says:

    You were adorable on your softball league!
    I do understand not wanting to wear that bright orange baseball cap though. I don’t know many people who could pull off that color. ;-)
    Good luck with your CPR class!

  21. shari Says:

    I’m with Jessica. Short hair, hand-me-downs from 3 older brothers, scratchy little voice… I was definitely thought to be a boy until, well, until I was very obviously pregnant. That finally seemed to shut the critics up.

  22. Strode Says:

    Looking at the close-up of you in the softball picture brought on this strange desire to listen to REO Speedwagon albums. Is there a family relationship between yourself and Kevin Cronin?

  23. TCho Says:

    I remember my old company asked me to be a fire marshall, and I said “No way.” But then I saw that the fire marshals got these cool helmets with a flashlight! I wanted one, but it was too late. All the spots were full.