The video on Twitter makes it look so fun, so innocent.
But don’t be fooled.
While it’s true that watching it almost certainly brought a smile for the 11,000 people who saw it as of Tuesday, it also likely caused consternation for those of us who may have tried the same thing – but with much more terrifying results.
Karen Fry, Vancouver’s Fire Chief, posted the 21-second video on Aug. 5. It was a one of the hottest days of summer for her city, with a high reaching 30 C.
Firefighters were driving by Marpole Community Centre when children sprayed the truck with their super soakers.
“How could we not accept the challenge?” Fry tweeted.
The accompanying video shows a firefighter soaking about 10 children with the firetruck’s hose.
Some laughed. Some screamed in delight. One young girl taunted the firefighter, who was soaked in his own right.
“Na, na, na boo boo!”
Four brave boys hopelessly battled back, frantically squeezing the triggers on their super soakers, to little effect. They were simply overpowered.
“Lesson learned,” Fry added. “Never challenge #hall22 @VanFireRescue to a super soaker fight.
“Fun for all.”
Not for all, Karen. Not for all.
Our crews were driving by Marpole Community Centre when kids sprayed the truck with their super soakers.
— Karen Fry (@Karen_Fry) August 5, 2021
You see, as Karen was spreading all the joy and youthful glee that sprouted from a good ol’ fashioned water fight in Vancouver, I was still bristling from a not-so-happy hosedown of the garden hose variety that took place a few days prior on my front patio.
It started off innocently enough. I was watering my lawn and garden when my friend Perry walked by, on his way to visit another neighbour at the other end of the complex during a scorching evening.
In one quick motion, I gave him a quick nod as I stealthily twisted the nozzle to direct spray and “cooled him down” a bit.
He laughed. I laughed. I should have quit while I was ahead.
Because a few minutes later, a young boy, maybe five or six, rode up on his bike. He stopped right in front of our place and stared at me, almost daring me to do it.
I was feeling unusually playful and non-crusty that night, so I made a motion with the hose, as if to tell him, ‘be careful… I will do it!’
He didn’t budge but just kept staring.
I twisted the nozzle and prepared for a warning shot. With a quick flick, I sent a stream of water flying high above the lawn toward the sidewalk. I was trying to hit the sidewalk a few feet in front of the boy, but my aim was off this night.
I landed a direct hit.
The boy stared at me in horror and screamed. He threw his tiny bicycle to the ground and ran as fast as his little legs could take him.
They didn’t take him far because in a heartbeat, his mother ran to him and scooped him up
“I’m so sorry,” was all I could mutter as she tried to calm him down.
“Why would you do that?” she asked. “He has a phobia of water.”
“I’m so sorry. I’m sorry.”
I must have said it six times.
Of all the kids in the world I decide to spray with a hose, I chose the one with aquaphobia.
Hearing the commotion, my wife came outside and scanned the situation. She gave me a terrifying look that said, “You didn’t, did you?”
I gave her a sheepish shrug that said, “Yes. Yes, I did.”
The woman picked up her son’s bike and with her son in one arm and his bike in another, they briskly walked away. They still walk by my place – but now they do it on the other side of the street.
It wasn’t my best moment.
So you think I would have learned my lesson.
A few days later, I was watering the lawn and my wife walked out on the sidewalk to check a plant.
I couldn’t resist.
And the less I say about what happened next, the better it will be for all of us.
“Fun for all.” Is that right, Karen Fry? I think not.
I guess if I want to successfully spray people with a hose I should become a firefighter.
Or I could just not spray people at all. But where’s the fun in that?
Beau Simpson is editor of the Surrey Now-Leader. You can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.