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Existentialist Firefighter Delays 3 Deaths

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Mom Sleeps In Past Sunrise

WOBURN, MA―Noting that she had somehow managed to sleep through both the dawn chorus of birds and her neighborhood’s early morning garbage pickup, 53-year-old local mother Laura Maloney confirmed that she did not awaken Monday until after the sun had risen.

Area Dad Needs More Time With Museum Plaque

NEW YORK—Leaning in close to the paragraph of text as his family continued on to the museum’s other exhibits, area dad and Frick Collection visitor Phillip Schermeier, 58, reportedly needed more time with the plaque beside Rembrandt’s 1626 painting Palamedes In Front Of Agamemnon Thursday.

Friend From College Wasted No Time Becoming White-Collar Professional

CHARLOTTE, NC—Noting how his fellow 23-year-old now takes business trips and apparently has a company-issued cell phone, local barista Daniel MacKenzie reported Friday that his friend Eric Sanford—with whom MacKenzie attended the University of Virginia from 2011 to 2015—has wasted no time at all becoming a full-fledged white-collar professional.

Waitress Who Took Over At Table Just Doesn’t Have Same Spark As Richard

FREEPORT, ME—Sensing things wouldn’t be the same once the woman removed their empty potato skin basket without so much as a playful acknowledgment of how much they must have enjoyed the appetizer, patrons at Downeast Grill confirmed Wednesday night that their new waitress, Allie, just didn’t have the same spark Richard had.

Man Practices Haircut Request Before Heading To Barber

MINNEAPOLIS—Having scripted a set of lines he hoped to deliver with confidence and decisiveness, local 34-year-old Jason Clyne carefully rehearsed his haircut request several times Friday before heading to his local barbershop, sources confirmed.

Ronald McDonald Statue Bears Full Brunt Of Teenagers’ Mockery

CLEVELAND—Remaining stoically silent throughout the barrage of vicious insults, unsavory accusations, and various other indignities directed at it, a statue of Ronald McDonald seated on a bench outside the fast-food chain’s Clark Avenue location is said to have borne the full force of a group of teenagers’ mockery Thursday.

Woman Leaving Meeting Worried She Came Off As Too Competent

OXNARD, CA—Silently chastising herself for the way she behaved in front of her colleagues and supervisors, Cobalt Property Insurance sales associate Leah Manning, 36, was reportedly deeply worried Tuesday that she came off as too competent during the company’s weekly sales meeting.

Mom Has Stacked Dinner Party Roster

GOLDEN, CO—Their eyes widening in amazement as the 43-year-old rattled off the names of heavy hitter after heavy hitter, impressed members of the Dreeshen household confirmed Friday that the roster for their mom’s upcoming dinner party was absolutely stacked.

Bold Intern Giving Parents Tour Of Office

CHICAGO—Brazenly strolling through the rows of desks while pointing out the firm’s various departments to his two guests, Lodestone Media intern Nate Kapper, 19, made the incredibly bold move of giving his parents a tour of the company’s offices Wednesday, sources reported.
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Existentialist Firefighter Delays 3 Deaths

Farber deferred praise, saying that by charging into danger to rescue the victims he "merely put off the fate that befalls us all."
Farber deferred praise, saying that by charging into danger to rescue the victims he "merely put off the fate that befalls us all."

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."

Added Farber, "That hardly makes me a paragon of virtue."

At 2:30 a.m. Monday, the alarm sounded at Farber's station house, causing the despondent firefighter to emerge from a deep malaise and, though still absorbed by the sense of dread that has preoccupied him since youth, respond promptly to the request for assistance at the home of Stanley and Joyce Morgenstern.

According to department officials, Farber, a 13-year veteran of Ladder Company 8, climbed through a kitchen window and, despite carrying with him a heavy burden of alienation, managed to see all three members of the family to safety.

"He came out the front door with a body slung over each shoulder, and seconds later there was this big fireball and beams started falling and the whole thing caved in," neighbor Judy Neal said. "When it was all over, he just sort of stood there emotionless and silent, as if nothing had happened at all."

"I think I even saw him shrug," she added.

While acknowledging that the Morgenstern family no longer has a home, authorities said it really makes no sense to bemoan this fact, as things like this happen every day, and it's no use trying to pretend that, in and of itself, existence is anything but a provisional circumstance over which we exert limited control.

Though the cause of the fire remains unknown, and can perhaps never truly be known, sources close to the investigation said that no foul play is suspected, only the haphazard, amoral processes inherent in nature itself.

"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.

As for the ultimate consequences of his actions Monday, Farber said they will forever remain uncertain.

"The family has thanked me repeatedly, especially for saving the life of their only child, but their gratitude ignores the full, crushing weight of reality," said Farber, his brow furrowed. "The world may have all kinds of torture in store for that kid, misery that could have been avoided if not for me."

"I tried to explain to them that what I did was really nothing more than an expression of despair, and thus absurd, but they just kept saying 'thank you, oh my God, thank you, thank you so much,'" Farber continued.

With local residents applauding the rescue as an inspiring act of bravery, Farber acknowledged to reporters that entering a burning building and knowing you may never come out is indeed a scary thing. But, he argued, it takes far more courage to face down the fear that comes each day from the horrifying and inescapable knowledge that, at any given moment, a man has the complete freedom to simply pour gasoline all over himself, strike a match, and let himself burn.

When asked if he felt something, anything, after briefly extending the lives of three human beings, Farber replied in the negative.

"I was doing what, at that moment, I was doing," he said. "Tomorrow, if there is another fire, I will do the same. Perhaps in that fire, I will be the one who is killed. Or, on the other hand, perhaps I will not. Either way, there will be anguish and sorrow at some unknown point."

Added Farber, "There always is."

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