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Rides on waves...don't play with matches
By seriously _ dave
Thursday, May 14, 2009
Rated "PG" by the Author.
My name is David Smith, Ive been through a lot in my life of 44 years,
some good and some bad, some emotional and some not so,
Life really sucks at times, these are the times where "ending it" seems to be a viable option, then there are the times where life has been so worth living.
Ive always been fascinated with fire, since I was a young child. This is a funny, or not so funny story, about my fascination with fire.
I call this story...
"don't play with matches" by David W. Smith
Have you ever heard of the three stooges?......I remember watching that comedy show when I was a kid! every afternoon...it would be the three stooges and the little rascals. Moe, Larry and Curly were always doing funny things, hitting each other and just being idiotic. Well, there was one episode That came into my mind the night that my butt was on fire.
It was about 3 a.m. on a cold winters night ........this is in the house on chestnut ct. I was five years of age at this time. Mom and Dad were sound asleep in their bed room.
I always got up at night in the winter time when I heard the heater turn on. My blankets were okay, but there was nothing like sitting on a nice warm register. Our registers were in the floors, close too, but not touching the walls.
As a five year old, I would wake up at times just to go sit on the register. Id wrap a blanket around me and make my own little tent. It was always nice and toasty warm.
At one point, at that age, I did this every night.
When everyone went to sleep, I in my pajamas.....(the ones that covered your feet, you know the kind, they had like socks built in to them.) ....would get up and search the living room for leftover pizza or pop....or what ever sweet things that mom and dad were eating that night.
I was a nut for sweets, pizza and Pepsi Cola. Mom would stash chocolate, (though mom was never fat) behind the chairs or beside the couch at times. Id look all over and I was usually able to find something. Then Id head for the register to devour my find in warm solitude.
There was a light on the wall that turned red when the heater was blowing hot air....and the light turned green when the heater was ready to turn off, but the register would continue to blow air for a minute or two after. when the light turned green, I knew that the air would be cold soon, and id have to go to bed, or wait till it turned back on. I was five or so, So I never knew how to adjust a thermostat. I do remember trying to push and twist the lights. I was trying to get the thing to turn on but to no avail!
On this one particular night I did what I always did. I searched the area for any grub......with no luck.....the hot air began to blow.....I sat over the register and wrapped my blanket around me. The warmth was especially nice on this particular night, because the temp. was low
outside and I was very cold.
I sat there with my blanket over my head enjoying the nice warm air, when the light turned green. I was so
bummed. I pulled the blanket tighter around my legs trying to keep the warm air in, and the cold out! it didn't work for long, because the cold air finally began to blow from the register as it always had just before the green light turned out. Hmmm, (thought my 5 year old brain, as I devised other ways of keeping warm. Fire! I need a fire!
I thought that mabe I could somehow keep myself warm if I used some of moms matches. She smoked cigarettes and I knew where she kept the A&P matches, she always bought them in the little cases with about 100 books of 20 matches per. book. they were in the same drawer as her cigarettes....in the kitchen....second drawer to the right of the stove....and there were some above the stove as well, so I grabbed a couple of packs of matches, and went over to the register.
I wrapped the blanket over my tiny body (like a tent again)...then I began to light the matches 1 at a time, just like I saw mom do it. Id burn the match down to the end and drop it into the register before my finger got burned......well......I was doing it pretty good and I was having fun, but I wasn't getting very warmed by them at all. I was actually getting colder
So I knew what the problem was. I just needed more fire! I lit a match, and then I lit the whole pack on fire it was about half full of matches by now.
When I lit it, the sudden flash scared me, and I dropped the pack in to the register. I thought it went down into the floor, but in reality, it just fell between my legs and went under my pj's...(by my leg.....) a few seconds later, I was on fire.....I remember jumping up, My pajamas were on fire below my right leg behind the knee area. I ran in to the kitchen. Without making a sound, I didn't want to wake up mom and dad because I knew that Id be in big trouble if they found out that i was playing with the matches,
(Mom always yelled at us kids to never touch the matches)
So I just ran around in circles. Then I remembered Curlie. I ran to the sink in the entrance hallway. I was looking for water ....like in the barrel....in the comedy show "the three stooges" when Curlies butt was on fire and he ran and sat his butt in the barrel of water to put it out.....all I could think of was the shhhhhhhh sound that it made...and the comforting look on Curlies face when the fire was finally extinguished.
I turned the water on, but the sink was too high for me to sit my butt in.....so I ran back into the kitchen (remember, I'm a five year old and I never had any of the Stop. Drop. and Roll. training.) By this time the fire was up my back side...(this all happened within only a few seconds) I ran back into the living room.....and I saw my Dad coming after me like a locomotive at full speed .....I remember him ramming me and knocking me in to the wall...trying to get the flames out, he rolled me on the floor.....and finally they were extinguished......they rushed me to the hospital. I had suffered 3rd degree burns on my rear right upper leg just below my butt.
My pajamas were made of this polyester type material that actually melted instead of just burning. Ill never forget the pain!...even at that age. The pain of removing the bandages....three times a day..was unbelievable...I would
scream when mom changed them.......for the next few months, I went through skin graphs (surgery).....to make the skin around the burn area look like the rest of my body, and that was just as painful as the burn itself....well...I must have had a real good doctor...Dr.
Elliot.....cause today there is only a minor looking scar back there.....Well, I dont see it much. :-)
That was an experience, that Ill never forget....My dad and mom were very sound sleepers....Dad had only gotten up to go to the bathroom....when he saw the human flame rushing through the living room.
I might have died..if he hadn’t awoke when he did.....cause I wasn't making any sound. I'm sure I would have if a few more seconds had passed though!!.......after all....there wornt many barrels full of water around that I could dip my butt into! :-)
You'd think that I would never! play with matches again...wouldn't you? wrong, wrong! Wrong!!
I loved to play with them....fire has always intreaged me...these days though??? I only love to see a good "controlled” fire. hehehe! But when I was a kid?
When I was a teen, about 14 or 15, me and Jim Doremous would go up to the store and buy boxes of those match sticks..you know...the wooden stick kind.
We were into making smoke bombs....you'd cut the heads off of the matches and put about 10 match heads together and wrap them up in aluminum foil. and when you threw them onto a concrete surface, the match heads would ignite. They usually would not burn, but they would make a huge white puff of smoke....it was real cool.....well we had a little factory going.....Id cut the matches and my brother Tim and Jim would gather them and wrap them in aluminum foil......we had a couple hundred of them finished....when I heard a car door close.....”ohhh shit!” Mom and Dad were home.....(it was a saturday) I tried to throw all the materials under some
clothes, but to no avail....they opened the door and saw us....we were busted!
.......ohhhh the spanking that I received was not quite as bad, but almost (with no scars) as bad as getting burned!...hehe! Ohhh I got it big time for that one!
Earlier we were into the match book thing. We, Jim and I would take the box of match books and put 4 or 5 packs of them together, set them on the water of a nearby creek, light them and watch as they sailed down the creek...that was fun....(I was a pyro boy) we burned model ships with gasoline, we burned down our forts in the woods, and always burned fires and played in them!
I remember Me and my brother Scott..... One boring saturday afternoon. We were walking along the railroad tracks.....I was mabe 14 or 15....and we mosied into the yard of a man named Popcorn Weaver! Popcorn Weaver lived in a traylor. he got his name from.......standing out in front of the grocery store in town, Mr. weaver would hand out popcorn to the kids as they came out of the store (I know you just don't do that today!) but at any rate, that's how he got the name.
It wasn't really a junk yard, persay, It was actually his back yard.....10 or 20 acres of weeds, old rusted out tractors...plows, (junk) cars, just a lot of steel junk, but not much garbage. Well we were sneaking through his yard when we came upon an old rusted out pick-up truck. Grass and weeds were growing up in it and around it....no windows, etc. Junk!
It was a very hot summer afternoon Id say in the mid ninty's, no water anywhere. We climbed all over the truck when I came up with a cool idea.....I broke out my matches and I started a small fire in the center of the cab. The seat was all torn up and the fibers from the seat were a perfect fire starter, so we had a contest (or played fireman). I lit the fire then he put it out. When it was out, he would light it and id let it get a little bigger then the previous fire and then I'd put it out. We wanted to see who could get the biggest fire going before they put it out....we were playing chicken. and I won! uhhhhhh, I think!!
We went back and forth mabe 3 or 4 times. It was his turn to light the fire and he did. I wanted my fire to get
the biggest, so I let it go. He said, "put it out!" I said, "no no, not yet!" He said, "PUT IT OUT!" I said, "not yet!, not yet!" I let it get real big. The flames were about 3 feet high, I remember them hitting the roof of the vehicle, that was when I started hitting it with the 2 x 4 that We used to extinguish the previous fires. : - )
Well, as you could imagine, the fire was a little to big....the more I hit at it, the more the fire began to
spread....so we ran to find water!, on a mid 90 degree hot summer day?
We did manage to find a pop can that was lying in the shade, half full of water....but that was it. it was about 50 feet from the truck I grabbed it and ran towards the fire, stupid kid I know, but Hey! I was desperate!
It was useless! By then the whole cab of the truck was engulfed in flames.
When we finally realized that there wasn't any hope of getting the fire out, we did what any "sane and normal" human being with any amount brains would do.......
WE RAAAAAAAAAN!, it seemed to be the right thing to do at the time.
There were no fire trucks. I don't think that anyone even knew what had happened....but when we left, the fire was big! the whole truck was engulfed in flames.
I went back a couple of days later to survey the damage......thank God the fire didn't go any further then it did ( I say that now)......just that small area about (20' in diameter) around the truck was burned up.....it could have been real bad! ............................Lucky for us, it wasn't!
I also remember when I was under the age of eight.....this was in the house on chestnut ct. My brothers Brian, Jeff, Mike and I were in the neighbors yard.....along with all of the neighborhood kids
Brian hade made a cannon out of pop cans....the old style pop cans were cylinder like.....not like the cans today...these cans were a straight cylinder shape...you know the kind....he took 5 of those, cut out the tops and bottoms of four of them. Punched a few holes in the top of the bottom can, then he taped the cans together, and punched a tiny hole in the bottom edge of the bottom can......youd then take lighter fluid and squirt it into the tiny hole in the bottom of the bottom can. then shake the cannon back and fourth.....to get the fumes going....youd then place a tennis ball in the open end of the cannon, and lite the bottom by the tiny hole to shoot it, or drop a match in the end of the canon to clean out any excess fumes.....it was awesome! it would shoot that tennis ball like 150' in the air.....wouldnt want to get hit by one thats for sure.
We just shot a tennis ball and the whole neighborhood has just run to find it......(whoever got it first got to shoot it next!!) I stayed by the cannon, and like My big brother, I lit a match and dropped it into the end of the cannon to clean it out......I think Brian was there with me, but im not sure....well, when i dropped the match down in to the end of the cannon, I took a quick look, to see what was going to happen. and .....yep...you guessed it!...BOOOM!
A flame came out of the end of that cannon and singed all of my hair.....I had no eye brows left!
I'm lucky that I closed my eyes......cause it burned my face.....not bad enough to go to the doctor, but it sure scared the hell out of an eight year old kid!
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