“SCHAUMBURG, IL—In an ultimately futile act some have described as courageous and others have called a mere postponing of the inevitable, existentialist firefighter James Farber delayed three deaths Monday.
“I’m no hero,” Farber said after rescuing the family from a house fire on the 2500 block of West Thacker Street, and prolonging for the time being their slow march toward oblivion. “Like any other man, I am thrown into this world, alone and terrified, to play a meaningless role in an empty life. In my case, that role happens to involve charging through towering blazes to pull helpless individuals from a sea of flames before they suffocate or are burnt alive.”
“The house will be rebuilt, or perhaps it won’t,” Farber said of the destruction. “Perhaps an entirely new building will be built there, one that’s not even a house. Or maybe it will remain a vacant lot, and a tree will grow there, and some day, long after I and everyone I know has died, young children will come here and play in its branches.”
Farber became a firefighter in 1997, although he stresses that he could just as easily have ended up a baker, an attorney, or a parking garage attendant, depending on whether or not circumstances led him to find himself in such a life.”
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