Chinese Fire Drills

I never understood the point of running around your car at a stop light in the middle of traffic, and outside of general debauchery never thought there really was one.

Until the other day when I discovered this just isnโ€™t the case.

You see, the Chinese fire drill is indeed a very useful tool that every motorist should include in their arsenal [along with the honk and wave, and finger giving].

We were stopped at a light across from the bank that we wished to visit in order to withdraw some currency and brad looks to me and requests a Chinese fire drill while he runs in to use the ATM. I was a bit confused at the suggestion but agreed to it. A breath was taken as we counted to three, the engine is cut, the doors fly open, and I slide across the hood Dukes of Hazard style as Brad makes a break across three lanes to the safety of the bank lawn.

I slam the door shut and take a moment to identify what exactly just happened. The Chinese fire drill, that we have all been doing as kids, actually served a purpose?

This was amazing! I couldnโ€™t believe that a childhood game has just helped me out in my adult life. What has ring around the rosy done for you lately? Thatโ€™s what I thought.

So where did all of this nonsense originate? In the early 1900โ€™s apparently.

A fire drill was designed in the event of fire in the engine room on a ship that would require a bucket brigade to bring water from the ocean to the fire, and then water that has accumulated in the engine room would be taken and tossed over the side of the ship. You follow?

So to make things even more confusing, the ship had an all Chinese crew and British officers. The translation got muddled and the bucket brigade ended up bypassing the engine room completely and they were just dipping water from the ocean, passing it along to the other side of the ship, and tossing it right back in.

So the term Chinese fire drill is, apparently, a lesson in futility [see mummrat 8 for more on brads explanations of futility] and are in and of themselves essentially useless.

So in its purest form, what we accomplished this day could not be described as useless as it served a very specific and useful function โ€“ and therefore cannot be classified as a Chinese fire drill. But a move so genius cannot be left unrecognized and requires the most accurate nomenclature, ladies and gentlemen, I present to you:


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