Saturday, December 31, 2011

REDUX #1 : A Man's Guide to Pyromania

(Jon Acuff over at Stuff Christians Like is posting his best blogs from the year during the last days of December. I thought that was brilliant. Because I am twisted, over the next 5 days I am going to post the 5 lowest viewed blogs from my 2011 blogs.  (I'm throwing out the YouTubes and the NFL stuff, but all the usual parentheses posts are here.) Chances are there’s at least a few you never saw the first time around.)

Sticks and Stones may break my bones,
But Sticks and Sticks make fire!
What is it with guys and fire? 

Since the dawn of time, or at the least the first cold morning thereafter, men have been lighting fires.  We go through phases in our fire lives.  We go through a minimalist period where the object is to light a fire with the most rudimentary objects like flint and steel, or even two sticks and some friction. This must harken us to our most primal survival instincts, because given the current age we live in, how many of us truly believe we will be caught in the wilderness without a cell phone, an Under Armour garment, and all the other things a modern camper needs.  Given that smoking makes most people a pariah of sorts these days, it isn't a stretch to say that lighters won't be as prevalent as they once were.
Not to be used to light fires,
it should have that disclaimer!

Once we master the basics (or become bored and frustrated trying) we normally move into the "fire water" phase where basic is replaced with chemical augmentation. A man will dance merrily around a fire with a bottle of lighter fluid, squirting said fluid to make the fire dance and reach out to grab the bottle from his hands. Success is measured by the relative short distance of said fire to said bottle without an accompanying "BOOM!" (the more dangerous the situation the better)

Ancient Fire Eater?

A man has not truly mastered fire until he masters it's many elements.  Heat is always an important aspect of fire. We will throw countless objects into a fire, not really thinking about whether the object might be hazardous to burn. Paper leads to cardboard, which leads to food objects like marshmallows.  We'll get bold when we see that some colored paper will actually change the color of the flame and that begins a search for oddly colored objects to burn.  A true revelation of the heat of a fire is the first time an attempt is made to burn a Coke can.  We think it will never burn, but there is a hope that the red will burn off the can and change the color of the fire. We are amazed to watch the can melt in a truly hot fire.

Another aspect of fire that we attempt to master is size.  Thus the advent of the "Bonfire" where we will burn entire trees in a fire, along with lawn chairs, and old furniture.  The aftermath of a good bonfire is defined by number of calls placed by concerned neighbors to the fire department, visits from aforementioned fire departments, size of the crop-circle looking burn mark in the lawn, and of course calls from NASA to indicate that your fire is blinding one of their satellites.

Sure to be on NASA's radar and your neighbors'

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