Hook 'n' Laughter

A Colorado firefighter finds humor in uniform.

His first marriage fell apart. The local watering hole became a second office. At a Fourth of July party several years ago, he put a loaded gun to his head and joked about ending it there. Except, he says now, he wasn't joking. He began studying the suicides he encountered on calls, wondering what would be the best way to go.

The dead doctor's choice of a .44--the continuation of a family tradition that had claimed two of the doc's relatives on their own 44th birthdays--was a "terrible method," Casey says. "Somebody's gotta clean that kind of stuff off. Come on, at least put a drop sheet out for when you fall on the bed...It ruins the bed, the comforter, it gets on the floor. That guy needed to do a bit of research."

Casey decided he preferred the carbon monoxide-in-the-garage bit, even though at the time he "didn't have a good garage. But it seemed a good way to go," he says. "Lean back, put on some tunes, a six-pack...less mess for the family."

Instead, Casey finally checked into counseling and got divorced. He married again in 1995; he and his new wife are expecting their first child in November. These days, when he's not on call at the fire station, he stays busy writing--lately he's been pitching teleplays to TV's Tales of the Crypt. And except for the occasional gig like Cherry Creek, he doesn't perform in public anymore, because "the addiction is too strong," he says.

But Tim Casey cannot resist the occasional crack. Looking around his split-level home with its view of Pikes Peak, he says with a small smile, "I have a good garage now...

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