Christina Clusiau

The Bronx: Rocco

Rocco

Time of birth: 1961. But I run circles around guys half my age.

Hometown: The boogie-down Bronx, New York.

Occupation, both real and desired in another lifetime: Fireman. And an entertainer, because that’s what I believe I really am.

How long have you been a fireman? 18 years.

What makes you an entertainer? When I walk into a room, I want to see that room light up. I like to talk and joke. I like to dance. I like to touch people.

How do you get around the city? ‘68 Cadillac Coupe de Ville convertible. Sometimes if you’re feeling a little down, you get in that thing and you’re on top of the world.

What’s toughest about your job? Seeing a child die. Carrying a child out and knowing that that child is never going to grow, or prosper, or get educated. It hurts, deeply, to see that. That’s the worst thing in the world.

What’s your life philosophy? Stay strong, always. Treat people with respect. And never stop loving. I’ve got a daughter that’s 13 years old. Sometimes I look at these kids and I think, “What the fuck are we leaving them?” Take care of one another.

biopic

Rosecrans Baldwin co-founded TMN with publisher Andrew Womack in 1999. He is the author of three books, including his latest novel The Last Kid Left (NPR’s Best Books of the Year). His nonfiction appears in a variety of magazines, mostly GQ. More information can be found at rosecransbaldwin.com. More by Rosecrans Baldwin

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