“In one day, first responders see more trauma, loss, death and destruction than the average person sees in a lifetime,” says Dr. Robert Scott, director of the stress management program for the Los Angeles Fire Department. “This book reminds us that we all need to laugh at ourselves and utilize humor to mitigate stress.” Like all first responders, Jordan and Hicks – who each has more than 20 years’ experience in his respective field – were told as rookies that if they went home safe at the end of a shift, it was a good day. “I believed that for years. But one day I was on patrol with my partner when I felt a twitch in my eye,” Jordan said. “It was from stress I never knew I had. I was dealing with it – but it was killing me.” If it was happening to him, it had to be happening to a lot of other first responders. But Jordan and Hicks were smart enough to know that first responders are not the type of people to hang around the self-help section in a bookstore looking for books on stress. They needed a hook. And mixing in humor with helpful ways to release stress was it. Sure, there is a lot of heartbreak and tragedy in their jobs. But what about the times they return to the police station or firehouse with a story that makes everyone laugh? “We sent out queries to more than 1,000 first responders in all fields, asking for a funny story. We got back a couple of hundred which we scaled down to 50, one for each state,” Hicks said. “We told them to keep it PG-rated because we didn’t want to bring discredit to anyone. We wanted a family book because it’s not only for the person under stress but for family members to help them with it.” Like: A guy calls a dispatcher at the Sacramento Police Department, complaining about his wife. “Where are you calling from, sir?” the dispatcher asks. “Los Angeles,” the man says. “Why don’t you call the LAPD then?” “I did,” the man says. “They said there was nothing they could do and if I wasn’t happy about it to call the Sacramento Police Department.” Badda-bing. Dennis McCarthy’s column appears Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Sunday. [email protected] (818) 713-3749160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! It was a dark, foggy night in Charlestown, R.I., when police Lt. Jack Shippee got a call about a single-vehicle accident with a woman screaming at the scene. When the veteran officer arrived, he found the woman’s VW Rabbit – its front end smashed in – and a 500-pound pig lying dead in the middle of the country road. Through the fog, Shippee followed the sound of sobbing and found a woman, a passenger in the car, being comforted by the driver, a male friend. “Is she hurt?” Shippee asked the man. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREOregon Ducks football players get stuck on Disney ride during Rose Bowl eventThe man looked at his car, then at the dead pig, and shook his head. “No,” he said. “She’s a vegetarian.” Badda-bing. Welcome to the “First Responders Handbook of Humor,” written by Los Angeles County sheriff’s Deputy Dan Jordan and Los Angeles city Firefighter/Paramedic John Hicks. It’s a humorous insiders’ look at some very serious professions where you better learn to laugh to deal with stress or look for another job. There are 50 stories, one from a first responder in every state. They’re law enforcement officers, firefighters, paramedics, lifeguards and nurses – the people who run to the emergencies that the rest of us are usually running away from.