Bad Call: A Summer Job on a New York Ambulance

Bad Call: A Summer Job on a New York Ambulance

by Mike Scardino


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An adrenaline-fueled read that will stay with you long after you turn the final page, BAD CALL is a "compulsively readable, totally unforgettable"* memoir about working on a New York City ambulance in the 1960s. (*James Patterson)

Bad Call is Mike Scardino's visceral, fast-moving, and mordantly funny account of the summers he spent working as an "ambulance attendant" on the mean streets of late-1960s New York.

Fueled by adrenaline and Sabrett's hot dogs, young Mike spends his days speeding from one chaotic emergency to another. His adventures take him into the middle of incipient race riots, to the scene of a plane crash at JFK airport and into private lives all over Queens, where New Yorkers are suffering, and dying, in unimaginable ways. Learning on the job, Mike encounters all manner of freakish accidents (the man who drank Drano, the woman attacked by rats, the man who inflated like a balloon), meets countless unforgettable New York characters, falls in love, is nearly murdered, and gets an early and indelible education in the impermanence of life and the cruelty of chance.

Action-packed, poignant, and rich with details that bring Mike's world to technicolor life, Bad Call is a gritty portrait of a bygone era as well as a bracing reminder that, though "life itself is a fatal condition," it's worth pausing to notice the moments of beauty, hope, and everyday heroism along the way.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780316469616
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Publication date: 07/17/2018
Pages: 304
Sales rank: 596,259
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

Mike Scardino is a native of Elmhurst, Queens. In order to pay for college, he worked on a New York City ambulance as a teenager, which led to his decision not to pursue medicine as a career. Mike eventually found his way into advertising, where his ambulance experience proved to be an unexpectedly useful fit. He is married to the woman he met his third day at college and has three daughters. He currently resides in South Carolina.

Table of Contents

How Bad Could It Be 3

First Day on the Job 7

The Rule of Nines 13

The Napoleon 18

Mr. Bubble 22

On a Wine-Dark Sea 27

Beer 31

Breakfast of Champions 38

Boudicca Goes Soft 45

Death of a Cynic 51

A Date for the Prom 56

The Whirlpool 61

Jesus Speaks 70

The Least We Can Do 78

Silence Is Golden 89

Those Guys 94

A House Like Mine 99

I'm a Daddy 105

Suppertime 114

At! it Takes 123

What Friends Are For 129

To All a Good Night 135

The Worst Thing You've Ever Seen 144

Spare Change 151

Candy 156

Don't Blink 160

Somebody Else's Shoes 165

Erosion 170

Sure Fooled Me 177

Omaha Beach 183

The Sight of Blood 191

Done 198

Paperwork 205

Two Prisoners 212

A Visit from a Friend 218

Bon Voyage, Scumbag 230

Go Figure 236

The Bear 242

The Park Is Good 250

Still Life with Prostitute 262

JFK 269

On a Day Like Today 277

A Cold Day in Hell 282

Acknowledgments 291

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Bad Call: A Summer Job on a New York Ambulance 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Caroles_Random_Life More than 1 year ago
I am a bit surprised by how much I ended up liking this book. This book was quite a bit different than my usual reads but once I started reading this book I didn't want to put it down. This may not be a book for everyone but it definitely worked for me. I am so glad that I had the opportunity to read Mike's story. I grew up watching the TV show Emergency and have been known to watch a re-run of the show every once in a while. I like watching a medical team in action working to save a life and it is really interesting to see how things have changed in the field in such a short amount of time. I was really quite interested in this memoir of an ambulance worker in New York City in the late 60's because that just sounds like an incredibly difficult job to have. This book is made up of really short chapters with each chapter covering a different call. If you are looking for resolution on every case, it isn't going to happen in this book. The author takes the reader through the ambulance worker's role which ends at the hospital. These are not boring cases being covered in this book and there were more than a few scenes that may be too much for any reader that is a bit squeamish. I like a little bit of blood and gore so it worked well for me. I think that one of the main strengths of this book was the author's ability to really bring these situations to life. The descriptions were very well done and I was able to easily visualize the scenes as Mike went through his days on the job. As the book progresses, we also see what kind of impact this difficult job has had on the young man just trying to do a good job. It was really very interesting to me how much this work has changed over the years and couldn't imagine having to do this kind of work without some basic precautions such as gloves. I would recommend this book to others. There are quite a few scenes in this book that will stay with me for a long time. I have a lot of respect for anyone that works in the medical field day in and day out and think that the obstacles facing an ambulance worker out in the field would make the job quite challenging. Mike Scardino has a gift for words and has told a very memorable tale in this book. I wouldn't hesitate to read more of his writing in the future. I received a copy of this book from the publisher.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago