Jan 032014 4 Responses

A Small Fire, a Can of Gasoline, and a Test of My Manhood

For those who are new to the blog, most Fridays are Funny Fridays. I write something about the pastorate or my life that makes me laugh. There is no great point or moral to the story. It’s just something I find funny and hope sometimes you will too. See: Objects In the Mirror Often Appear Holier Than They Are

It’s a universal truth that anytime you are given an option to hear and believe or see and believe, hearing is always easier than seeing.

When Jenny was pregnant with Ella, she decided to make me into the man she always wanted—no, I don’t mean Ethan Hawke, I mean a man who can handle himself in the outdoors with something other than an 8–iron. At the time, we lived outside of town on a few acres and the property had an overgrown fence row. She wanted the fence row cleared. I assumed that meant hiring someone with a bulldozer; she assumed that meant the two of us burning it down. So we compromised and set a fire.

Not knowing how to set a fire, Jenny taught me. She got some newspaper, a few pine needles, some small sticks, and a couple of large pieces of wood. She cleared a small area so the fire wouldn’t spread and she lit the newspaper. The newspaper lit the needles, the needles lit the sticks, the sticks lit the wood and eventually the wood produced enough heat to burn the honeysuckle. It was a nice fire.

There was only one problem in my estimation—it wasn’t big enough. Her fire would slowly encompass the fence row, but why do slowly something which can be done quickly.

Having learned how to start a fire, I decided to start one of my own. The only difference is that mine would be bigger.

I gathered some newspaper, pine needles, small sticks, and a couple larger pieces of wood. I sat them by the largest part of the honeysuckle and set my fire, but it burned out. So I set it again and it burned out. I did it a third time and it died out.

My whole life, I have heard there is a difference between diesel and gasoline, but I had never seen it.

Knowing that diesel makes a fire burn hotter, I went to retrieve some diesel from my shed. However, I didn’t own anything which ran off of diesel, but there was a nearly empty gas can with just a few drops of gasoline remaining.

Before you start making judgments, I’m not dumb enough to poor gasoline on a fire. But I was dumb enough to poor it near a fire. Having heard my whole life there is a difference between diesel and gasoline, I carefully distributed the gas in a way that the fumes would travel down wind away from the spot in which I had been burning. I took a long stick (from my wife’s small, but effective fire) and inched my way toward the burn zone.

The plan worked flawlessly right up to the second in which I began to toss the burning stick into the flammable liquid. As I tossed, I heard an unmistakable sound which every man probably hears at least once in his life. It’s as if in one second all of the oxygen was sucked from around me. In an instant, I jumped and turned seeing nothing underneath me but bright yellow flames.

I began to high step out of the fire as though I was the drum major for Grambling State during the Bayou Classic.

Two voices could be heard in my head:

The first was saying, “I am going to die.”

The second was my wife’s voice saying, “I told you so.”

Neither were very comforting.

Thankfully, I escaped my self-created hell only to see my pregnant wife on the ground.

My fear was that the shock of her husband’s near death had created a stressed-induced medical issue in her own life or the life of the baby.

I thought that until I heard the laughter.

In that moment I saw the truth of two things which for sometime I had only heard of:

  1. There is a difference between diesel and gasoline.
  2. Jenny had always said, if I ever do something out of stupidity, she would not feel sorry for me.

Happy Friday.



4 Responses to A Small Fire, a Can of Gasoline, and a Test of My Manhood
  1. […] While this is true in every setting, it is especially true for those of us who spend a good amount ... https://www.kevinathompson.com/making-fun-wife
  2. […] A Small Fire, a Can of Gasoline, and a Test of my Manhood: I nearly killed myself the month before t... https://www.kevinathompson.com/thank-funny-friday-flashback

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