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Playing with fire: Part 2

21 Jul

A couple of days ago, I wrote about my experience as a crappy Boy Scout.  I wrote about how I got my fire chit and was able to build awesome fires.  Back in May I wrote about me throwing flaming paper airplanes out of my second story window.  I said that was my last time playing with fire, but not my brothers.  Here is his tale:

Behind our house was for the longest time a construction company’s stockpile and yard.  Directly behind our property they had put a bunch of small mounds of dirt for some purpose I suppose.  Picture a mogul field but rather than being on a ski slope these were on flat ground and you’ll have a good idea of what I’m talking about.  My brother and I thought it would be a great idea to have a camp fire one fine summer evening, toast marshmallows, sing songs, etc.  So that afternoon, me being the ex-Boy Scout with 3/4ths of a fire chit built a killer teepee surrounded by a log cabin stack of wood, kindling, and paper.   One of us stupidly brought a packet of matches with us (I contend that it was my brother who brought the matches, I’m sure he thinks otherwise).  As I’m building our fire, surrounding it with stones, etc. my brother is lighting matches, watching them burn, then dropping them on the ground.  Did I mention that these hills had been there a LOOOOOOONG time and it was a very dry summer so all the vegetation (weeds) that had grown on top and around the mounds was nice and dry?  Yeah, I’m sure you can see where this is going.  I told him to knock it off and stop wasting my matches.  His reply?  “Just one more.”  Of course he lit “just one more” too close to his fingers, burned himself, and dropped the match.  Right on a nice bit of dead stuff.  I don’t remember how fast the hill caught fire.  I do remember running up to the house yelling for my mom and her friend that my bro had set the field on fire, laughing hysterically the entire time.  I was USELESS when it came to helping put the fire out.  I could not stop laughing.  On the plus side, my fire started right up and burned beautifully.

In the end the fire was fairly quickly put out and no one was hurt.  I guess that’s a positive end to the story.  Except that it’s not the end.  You would think that my brother would have gotten into trouble for setting fire to a field, right?  Wrong.  I got in trouble.  For being useless.  For laughing at my brother thinking he would get himself into trouble (finally).  For not helping to put out the fire.  I think I was grounded for a week, and had my fire chit taken away from me.  Not that it was at all useful being a piece of paper.  Actually, I probably would have set fire to it at some point, so it was probably wise of my mom to take it from me…

Playing with Fire: part 1

10 May

Ah fire.  Giver of warmth, charred hotdogs, and toasted marshmallows.  Fire has always been a problem for my family.  I wouldn’t go as far as saying that we’re pyromaniacs, yet fire has been the prominent figure in many of our stories.  I would like to share one such story with you.

When I was in JR High, I loved to set things on fire, build camp fires, experiment with fire, etc.  I think this stems from a failed attempt at being a Boy Scout.  I did manage to get my fire chit when I was a Boy Scout.  It was pouring and our leader told us he’d give us our chits if we could keep a fire going.  One partially ruined London Fog raincoat later…..

This story, however, is about paper airplanes, balloons, and a bit of my hair.  Yes, I did set a bit of my hair on fire while burning a balloon.  Lighting a balloon on fire is pretty cool.  Because it’s rubber, it flames for just a second (dripping molten hot lava-rubber all over you), then is out.  Unfortunately, the air inside the balloon sometimes makes the flame pop, which is how I set a bit of my hair on fire…

What?  Where do the airplanes come in?  Well, right about here I guess.  As I said earlier, I loved to set stuff on fire.  Somehow I got this great idea that setting paper airplanes on fire and throwing them out my window would be cool.  Nothing like seeing a flaming jet hurl from an open window to the grass below (please remember that this was WAY before 9/11 and I was young and VERY stupid).  Eventually, my brother joined in (yes this one was all on me).  Every now and again, we’d accidentally set the grass on fire.  Just a little bit.  I wonder if my parents figured out what we were doing when we would go careening down the stairs and rush out the front door to put out a little grass fire….  Regardless, we kept this up until moms friend came over.  Remember yesterday how I told you she was the one who spotted all the toys all over the yard?  Yeah.  She nailed us again.  I think the conversation went something like: “What are the boys doing?”

“What do you mean?”

“There are bits of fire coming from the upstairs window.”

 “BOYS!!!!!!!!!”

Ah crap…  Caught again….

 I can’t remember what our punishment was, but I’d bet it was a doosy.  This was probably one of the many times my brother and I had to stand in opposite corners with our arms out straight without touching the walls.  I’d bet this stunt got us 10 minutes, plus a grounding, plus a surrender of all fire starting materials we might have possessed.  I will say that I never played with fire again.  My brother on the other hand….