F is for Flammable

To continue on with my A to Z blog writing challenge, we cover the letter “F”. “F” is for flammable. I was once a young budding rocket scientist testing out the explosive capabilities of various household fluids. For many guys, there is just something about the allure of watching something burst into flames. This is why today there are so many “blow-em up” movies. We are just revisiting our scientific youth.

My first experiment involved using a magnifying glass to incinerate ants. They burned of course, but didn’t explode or create even little mushroom clouds. Soon the entire bed of ants was in offensive mode and laid siege to my bare feet.

My next experiment was with rubbing alcohol and Blackcat fireworks. I used to build plastic model airplanes, tanks and battleships. Not to admire them on a shelf for that would be silly. No, they were used for military experimentation. Simply insert a couple of plastic army men, an ounce or two of rubbing alcohol, and light one Blackcat. Not only do you get an explosion and miniature fire, you get untold carnage and a backyard grass fire. It was cool but not cool at the same time. Now if you placed multiple Blackcats, you get flying flaming plastic shrapnel. THAT’S cool!

However, the final experiment with flammable fluids WAS NOT COOL. Let me set the scene. A friend and I were in my garage when a large Tarantula came innocently walking by. Of course, we wanted to see how a Tarantula burns so I poured just a small amount of gasoline on the spider. Well, that alone was enough to kill the mighty creature. Oh, but noooo, I just had to see it burn. So looking around feverishly for a match, I finally found one. I lit it and placed it on the spider. Problem was the gasoline had evaporated so no flame. So being a brilliant child prodigy, I open the gas can again and started to pour. It never dawned on me the match might still be lit. Well, guess what? It was and a huge flame flowed upward. I dropped the cylindrical shaped can and it began to roll out of the garage, spilling gasoline and laying down a trail of napalm. Oh, but wait…it doesn’t end here.

The can rolls under my parents’ Cadillac and wedges right under the engine with flames rising ominously from both sides of the car. Now my friend is running down the street with arms flailing in the air and screaming like a young girl. My neighbors are frozen and can’t move (early version of reality TV – I should have followed up on that one, but I digress). I’m on it and simply run to get the water hose to put out the fire. Fear of death? No – if I didn’t die getting the fire out my parents, who were inside taking a nap, would definitely have killed me. Luckily there was not too much gas in the can and it burned out quickly before the car could catch fire.

With all sincerity – never play with flammable fluids. I was lucky. In that instance, “F” was for FOOL. To this day I have a healthy respect for electricity and flammable fluids. Life is about learning from mistakes, if you are lucky enough to survive them. I cannot imagine a more horrible fate than death by burning. So please don’t be a fool like this pyromaniac blogger.


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