The Outsidah Turns 100


Hard to believe, but my 100th column as “The Outsidah” ran in today’s Ipswich Chronicle. Here it is:

police boat prepped

Fun With Trucks and Boats

The Ipswich Fire Department recently accepted delivery on their new fire truck: a 2013 Predator Panther KME pumper. This is great because our other fire trucks are 16 and 22 years old — which is really, really old for a fire truck. Fire truck years are like dog years. Not only does a Dalmatian traditionally ride along, but the Dalmatian and the fire truck are traditionally the same age. Not really. I just made this up. But it’s a very good idea. Anyway, in Ipswich’s case, according to the “Dog Years Calculator,” our fire trucks are 77 and 101.

The news report about the delivery of the new fire truck included one detail that gave me pause:

“The cab features custom designed compartments to meet the demands of the Ipswich Fire Department.”

What custom-designed compartments could our Ipswich firefighters require?

I revere these guys, and I think they should have absolutely everything they could possibly want in the cab of their fire truck. So I’m hoping their wish list was really, really good.

Cup holder?

Donut holder.

Tupperware (sandwich size).

Condiment dispensing station, with pumps.

Salt & pepper shakers.

Built-in fried clam basket (clams not included).



Playing card dispenser.

Hands-free iPhone charging station.

Salad bar.

Oil & vinegar.

Toothpick dispenser.

Baby-changing station.


Magazine rack.



X-Box dock.

Helium tank (with balloon stem).

Maybe you’ll have other ideas?

Meanwhile, as reported recently by Kristina Lindborg in these pages, the Town of Ipswich has also received a used police boat — for free. It’s a 25-foot Defender Class vessel, an elite law enforcement and rescue boat, which came to us as “surplus” from the U.S. Coast Guard. Buy one new, and you spend more than a quarter-million dollars. This one is only six years old — a strapping 37, in dog years. Ipswich Police Chief Paul Nikas says this type of boat is built to last 20 years — which would make it 93, in dog years, before it whimpers its last.

Ipswich got the boat thanks to patient, persistent work by the Police Department, putting in more than 30 bids for surplus boats. The feds and various state agencies repeatedly spurned us — including those creeps at the National Park Service, those creeps at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and those creeps at the U.S. Department of Agriculture. But finally, we won one — beating out a municipality in Florida. Hooray!

I’m thinking our awesome aquatic cops should have special custom-designed compartments just like our intrepid firefighters.

Cup holder?

Donut holder.

Tupperware (sandwich size).

Condiment dispensing station, with pumps.

And so on.

Plus, maybe a cool fireworks-launcher.

If you have other suggestions, let me know. Email



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