In Case You've Wondered

My blog is where my wandering thoughts are interspersed with stuff I made up. So, if while reading you find yourself confused about the context, don't feel alone. I get confused, too.

If you're here for the stories, I started another blog:

One other thing: sometimes I write words you refuse to use in front of children, or polite company, unless you have a flat tire, or hit your thumb with a hammer.

I don't use them to offend; I use them to embellish.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013


I was in my mid teens; almost old enough to drive, and it was summer. 

I was a friend's house, with another friend, when we decided we needed to barbecue some chicken one summer afternoon.  None of us had ever cooked anything on a grill, but it appeared something easily accomplished; after all, we'd seen our parents cook, so anyone could. 

Billy decided to be the official fire starter. It was his house, his father's grill and he was the "expert" by proxy, although I doubt his father had any idea what we were up to. We were already on his shit list for filling the new concrete ditch behind their house with pine needles and burning the huge pile. 

Ted, and I, watched as he carefully stacked the charcoal, poured some gasoline, allowed it to sit for a few minutes and throw a lit kitchen match on the pile. 

I know you're all thinking to yourself: "Gasoline should never be used to start charcoal." This is true, but who were we to question the "expert"? We were just as clueless. 

Due to the volatile nature of gasoline, and the little time to allow it to soak into the charcoal, the fire was out in a few minutes, which left only edges showing any signs of becoming hot. 

Ted and I weren't paying much attention, but Billy was determined to have the best charcoals ever. So... while we weren't paying attention... he poured more gasoline on the charcoal. 

The huge cloud of white fumes caught both Ted's and my attention immediately. Before we could remark about what we were seeing, Billy approached in the cloud, with a box of kitchen matches in his hand. 


Before Ted's and my warning could reach Billy, he struck a match.


A huge fireball enveloped Billy and ended as soon as it began. 

I know you're thinking "Oh my God. It must have been horrible."

Billy was standing there, dumbfounded, with a shit eating grin on his face. His eyebrows were gone and his hair was singed. 

Within seconds, he started laughing, which brought our laughter, too, although ours more from relief. 

Close examination revealed smooth skin above his eyes, some redness to his face and substantial curly, singed hairs on his head. Other than that, he wasn't injured and we could only wonder how he escaped without terrible injuries. 

The fire was soon out; with the coals still not doing much of anything. This prompted us to change our plans. 

As my mind worked, I realized Billy's father would be home for work in a short time, which prompted me to remember something "important" I needed to do immediately. Ted, too, remembered something important, so we left. 

Billy never told me whether there were any repercussions for our cooking efforts; and I never asked. 

Some things you're never supposed to know. 


  1. I think every male kid has had that happened. I sure did back in the day. Same thing :)

    1. You're right. It's a wonder most of us survived.

  2. I remember a similar scene in my youth when a friend of mine was working on the carburetor in his truck with a lit cigarette in his mouth, and ended up with the obligatory fireball in his face. He wasn't seriously injured (and he too was laughing like a loon) but he did comically look like Wile E. Coyote after one of his Acme products backfired on him.

    Gasoline and stupid teenagers never mix, and never will.

    1. Worst thing to happen, was a friend was washing motorcycle parts, in the garage, with the door closed, with gasoline, when the water heater lit.

      It took years for him to progress from a wheelchair, to crutches, to a cane and finally back to walking without help. The burns to his legs were terrible.

  3. I think we've all pulled stupid crap like that when we were kids.... and as adults too. It truly is a miracle that we survive as a species.

    1. We became pretty creative; especially after we discovered calcium carbide and the wonders of a really big smoke bomb, when you mixed a lot of saltpeter and sugar.(no, we weren't arrested, when the fire department arrived. We were long gone.)

  4. Oh my. I couldn't help giggling a bit myself...

    1. If our unbridled curiosity, and energy, could have been channeled, the world would be a different place.