Blogging Like I've Never Blogged Before

Thursday, June 19, 2003

Speaking of people setting themselves on fire, when I was a kid (maybe eleven years old), I had an infatuation with fire. I think it was a fairly healthy obsession. I could stare at a candle forever. I still can. I just like being hypnotized. Boys like fire. It's natural. I wanted to be a fireman. I didn't set fire to cats or anything destructive.

One time I was left home by myself. It was snowing out, cold in the house and I thought I'd pretend to be a grown-up and start a fire in our wood burning stove. Bad idea. One of the main things my mother would always say before leaving the house was, "Don't touch the fireplace." Whatever, man! I've been camping. I know how to do this.

So as a child, I know that paper and wood are both good at burning. I learned that much in Boy Scouts. I throw some logs in there and some newspaper. The newspaper burns out, and the wood? Nothing. Didn't catch. Solution? More newspaper!

So I pile in the newspaper and sure enough, one big flaming piece comes flying out onto the floor. Now, there are some bricks that the stove was on, then there was the carpet of my living room. I freak out thinking that the paper will hit the rug and go up in flames. What do I do? The smart option would have been to use the poker thing and shove it under the stove or try and get it back in the stove and let it burn itself out. But as a mildly retarded eleven year old, I pick up the burning sports section and run like hell. Brilliant!

So I run to the nearest exit with the paper held high above my head. I'm not sure exactly what I looked like, but imagine someone running with the Olympic torch, only he is a 90 pound eleven year old with a giant head and a freaked out look on his face, and he's running through an empty house, not a street lined with photographers and fans of the Olympics.

The problem with the nearest exit was that it was located in the laundry room. So now, not only am I running with burning ash flying all over the place, I'm running through the most flammable room in the house. Chemicals and cotton. I'm sure if I had a gasoline and aerosol can room, I'd have gone through that. I get to the door, open it up, and throw the paper into the snow. OK. Crisis averted. So I calm down and head back into the house, with a pretty nice burn on my hand. Nothing too bad, but the shit hurts. I run some cold water over it, then realize I've got some cleaning up to do.

I go back into the laundry room and find all the ash. Luckily, nothing was burned. I put out what was still burning in the fireplace. I triple check my torch run to glory for any remaining ash. If my mom or dad find any evidence of this, I'll be a dead man.

OK, house looks good. no evidence of this anywhere. Sweet. I'm going to get away with it. My parents get home later that evening, and the first thing my mom says is, "What's that smell? Were you making a fire?"

"Wha? No, God no. I would never disobey you dear mother! For, I merely lit a candle to soothe my senses whilst reading Goofus and Gallant!"

Sweet, she bought it! I'm in the zone! If only she knew, a mere two hours ago, I was very close to burning our humble abode to a pile of embers. An hour or so later, the entire family is home and we are eating dinner. My mother asks, "What's in your hair?"


"There's something in your hair."

"No there's not."

Little sister says, "Yes there is. It's white!"

Mom comes in for a closer inspection. "It's singed! You singed your hair! You did try to start a fire!"

Indeed I did. And it was then I learned that no matter what I do, no matter how much I try to cover it up, my mother will always find out.

So that's a lesson for you kids, moms know. They find out. Don't know how, but they find out. Well, I do know how. I was a dick that burned my hair. Even had I not done that, she would have known. Don't ask me how. She would have known.

I believe that day was the last time I wanted to be a fireman. After that, I wanted to be a monkey. I've always wanted to be a monkey.
All material © Mike Toole; 2003 - 2006