EMS Superlatives: Tiger King Edition

Award the EMTs and paramedics at your agency for their Joe Exotic singing talent, Carole Baskin level dedication or Don Lewis MIA act in honor of EMS Week


Well, it’s the third week of May, and we all know what that means: quarantined EMS groundhogs around the country are hesitantly poking their heads out of their burrows, wondering if it’s safe to come out. If any of them sees a face mask worn improperly, we’ll have another six weeks of coronavirus-driven social distancing, canceled conferences and EMS Week banquets, and binge-watching Netflix.

And if you’re watching Netflix, you’ve watched Tiger King, and felt what it’s like to be a bystander rubbernecking at a really gnarly accident scene: no matter how disturbing it gets, you just can’t look away. The series inspired more crazed moments than an EMS shift on a full-moon paycheck Friday the 13th. If nothing else, it was better than an episode of “Hoarders” to make you feel better about your life decisions.

I sincerely hope you all get to get back to some sense of normalcy in your lives and careers, and that the damage this pandemic has done to our country can be repaired, and that EMS Week brings a break to your cabin fever and a chance to celebrate our profession. May your N95 masks be plentiful, your Tyvek suits flattering and well-fitted, your thermometers temporal rather than rectal, your Purell bottles bottomless, your EMS Week barbecue tasty, and your Tiger King EMS Superlative award be well-deserved!

May your N95 masks be plentiful, your Tyvek suits flattering and well-fitted, your thermometers temporal rather than rectal, your Purell bottles bottomless, your EMS Week barbecue tasty, and your Tiger King EMS Superlative award be well-deserved! (Photo/AP)
May your N95 masks be plentiful, your Tyvek suits flattering and well-fitted, your thermometers temporal rather than rectal, your Purell bottles bottomless, your EMS Week barbecue tasty, and your Tiger King EMS Superlative award be well-deserved! (Photo/AP)

Check out EMS Week Superlatives from years past, and the Tiger King home quarantine game, and award these at your EMS Week Zoom call this year.

The Expired Meat Award. For the member of your agency who leaves food in the station refrigerator long enough that it qualifies as a science experiment. Pimento loaf that expired in 2019? Those dates are just suggestions anyway.  Week-old leftover pizza? The acidity of the tomato sauce kills bacteria, didn’t you know that? Is that three-layer dip, or is that butterscotch pudding with an additional layer of green fuzz and white fungus? Iron Gut EMT doesn’t care, because a career in EMS has left them with a digestive system to rival a tiger’s.

The Kelci Saffery Employee Dedication Award. Given to the employee who will cover open shifts for anyone, any time. Need a day off for your grandmother’s funeral? They’ll cover it, even if your grandmother has died three times already this year. Need a medic to come in early for the four-hour vent transport to Lower Nowhereistan? They’re already on the way; they keep a uniform in their car for just such a possibility. Hopefully you’ll never need them to return to work within 24 hours of getting their arm gnawed off by a tiger, but it’s comforting to know they would if asked.

The Joe Exotic Ambulance Karaoke Award. For that medic who knows every song on the radio, and loves to sing along … enthusiastically. Doesn’t matter if it’s country, rap or alternative, they know the words. They make the shift go faster with their infectious enthusiasm, and they frequently entertains the rest of us when they don’t realize they have an open mike. It doesn’t take much to get them started.  Just croon, “I saw a tiger … ”

The Don Lewis MIA Award. For the crew who manages to disappear for the majority of the shift. We’re not saying they dodge calls, we’re just saying they seem to be extraordinarily lucky to be the farthest unit from the vast majority of calls, and they always seem to clear their stretcher at the ED five minutes after another crew was assigned to the call a block away. They’re always down for a long-distance transfer to Costa Rica that will take up the entire shift. Everyone knows them, but nobody remembers actually seeing them in months.

The Bhagavan Antle Personal Charisma Award. For that EMT who has dozens of infatuated admirers. Whether it’s the medic who has a dozen eager firefighters willing to tote their stretcher, first-in bag and monitor, or the EMT who can melt the heart of even the most cynical ED triage nurse – and thus gets a bed assignment before anyone else – the Bhagavan Antle of your EMS agency never wants for admirers. We’re not saying they have their own harem … but they could if they wanted.

The Carole Baskin Leadership Award, for that supervisor who runs their shift with ruthless efficiency. They’re polite. They’re professional. They even have pet nicknames for their crews, like “cool cats and kittens.” But they’ll also never hesitate to cut a unit if call volume is down, and they seem to always be able to find gullible volunteers to cover open shifts. Nobody has ever seen them be anything but a walking company billboard of personal decorum, but everyone suspects that if maintaining discipline required them to throw a crew into a meat grinder and bury the remains under a septic tank … they wouldn’t hesitate.

The COVID-19 Home Chemistry Award. For that medic who has somehow maintained their hair color despite their favorite salon being on lockdown. Forget making your own hand sanitizer, this crewmember is making their own peroxide to maintain that fabulous mullet until their colorist can tend to those roots.  

The Erik Cowie Personal Grooming Award, sponsored by Loreal. On any normal day, his hair length is always juuuuuust short of unacceptable according to your agency’s grooming standards. But with nobody to trim his hair after two months of shelter in place, he has to hide his hair under his uniform cap, because otherwise he’d look like Fabio.

The Jeff Lowe Public Transportation Speedbump Award. For the medic who can’t seem to keep a regular partner. Everyone wants to work with them at first, but everyone who does eventually moves to another shift, a broken shell of their former selves. Their ex-partners either wind up in bankruptcy or prison, but they always seems to land on their feet – with a raise and a promotion.  

The Rick Kirkham Caffeine and Nicotine Award. For the EMT rarely seen without a cup of coffee and a cigarette. Turning their truck for the next call always includes a five-minute smoke break just off the hospital campus, and they can walk into a strange hospital 100 miles from home, and still find the coffee pot in less than five minutes. If they ever wrecked an ambulance, their post-accident drug screen would note minute amounts of blood mixed in with their serum caffeine and nicotine. 

The Joseph P. Maldonado Fashion Maven Award. For that EMT who always manages to look faaaabulous off-duty. See them at work, and they look like everyone else, but run into them at Walmart, and they’re wearing an animal-print, bedazzled face mask, and a shirt that threatens to induce seizures in epileptics. They’re the person at your agency most likely to own a pair of white Levis and a fringed leather bomber jacket with a Scotchlite Star of Life on the back.

Download these Tiger King-inspired PDF certificates by filling out the form below and give out these tongue-in-cheek awards to deserving EMTs and paramedics at your agency. Happy EMS Week!

Read next: Tiger King, the Home Quarantine Game

Download these Tiger King-inspired Certificates

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