Friday Fives – the age of fire edition


Do you consider yourself young, old or middle aged?

Middle aged.  Mentally, I feel young.  Not ‘young at heart’, just young  curious, easily amused, quick with a complement and a stupid story (Spinach pie, anyone?) and always wanting to understand more.  Enjoy being wrong, if it leads to more or better knowledge.  Body-wise… middle aged for sure.  It’s a piece of this, this body. I shouldn’t say that, I am blessed with all my senses and gifted in other areas.  BUT… my back and knees are that of an 80 year old ex marathon runner.  Trust me, there are MUCH bigger struggles in the world than a middle class white who has an ouchie back.  My problems are admittedly first world, white person problems.

Like everyone on earth, what I wouldn’t give to have my knowledge and capabilities and compassion but into a 20 year old body.   What’s that amazing Bob Seger line?  “Wish I didn’t know now what I didn’t know then“.

When you think of your parents at your current age, did you consider them older than dirt?

 Oh, of course.  I assumed they were omniscient… not just in ways or money and knowledge, but in insight.  Mom’s pretty much know everything.  ANY time you feel you got one over on your mom… I can assure you that you did not.  I used to sneak out at night to do this dumb stuff.   I could go right out my window to get out, and not have to walk through the house.  years and years and later, my mom finally told me she knew all this stuff.  Every Friday night about 6 beers, a pack of shitty ciggies, and a roll of toilet paper would disappear.  I thought I was so clever!

On that note, she found ciggies in one of my jackets when I was a teen.  I gave her the old ‘not mine, holding it for a friend’.  She lectured me on smoking and said it was stupid and deadly and no way to go through life.  She wasn’t being a hypocrit, either.  At the time, she was a smoker, too.  Her feedback was genuine and well founded.  A few months later she came in and woke me up and asked me for a ciggie.  I gave the the same line “how could I?  I told you I don’t smoke.  Those were Joe Rockwell’s.  She said “listen you little shit, I do all the laundry and cleaning and I know you smoke.  We’ll talk about this later, but right now please give me a cigarette, since you stole all my packs!”  Can’t argue with that, so I did.

What were you really into when you were a kid?

I’ll assume we are basically talking single digits:  soccer.  I LOVED playing soccer, and played it every day for years and years.  Now, I don’t even watch.  Also, bicycles.  I loved my bike, it was total freedom.  I could go to the school, the fort, the library, Alaska.  That is what I told my mom, anyway.  Mostly, me and a pal just hung out at our super cool fort we build in the corner of an abandoned lot.  It was every cliché you know of regarding boys forts.;  Constructed with found wood and sticks, made water proof by large palm fronts, and then just enough junk around it to make it look either abandoned, or a serial killer hop stop.   We would steal and drink my moms’ shitty cigarettes (Virginia Slims.  Gross! And steal and drink her shitty beer (Hams, mostly)

Also, fire.  I loved fire when I was a kid.  Total pyro.  Me and a pal, who we will call ‘Sean’ pioneered a simple manner for spontaneous combustion.  Seriously!  See, if you take a teaspoon of redacted and add it to a teaspoon of redacted… then you just wait.  Nothing happens initially.  After almost exactly 20 minutes, a small flame would emerge.  You only needed a beer bottle cap’s worth.  We would take this bottle cap with the mixture and set it in a mailbox late at night.  Then, you get out of site and wait.  Have a good view, and an exit point well planned out that took you discreetly away from the scene.  Since every street in Phx has an alley, that would be out escape.  This compound is so frighteningly easy and cheap to make that I won’t publish it here, ever.  You’ll shoot you eye out, kid.

After about 20 minutes, a small flame emerges about the size of a big lighter.  With the cherry bomb wick sitting just an inch above, mailbox goes BOOM.  No one gets hurt, mind you.  When you make the mailbox go boom, you now have about 20 houses looking out their windows for these little hoodlums, but we were nowhere to be found.  We were slowly backing out of alleys, and back in out fort long before cops showed up.

LISTEN!  I am not proud of this, and would never do it now.  If you take a steel tennis ball can (don’t use a soda can, the aluminum just melts)… well you take now about a cup of redacted and a cup of redacted (same ingredients) it makes a flame about 6 feet high.  We didn’t build bombs with this, EVER.  We never put the contents under pressure.  That is how you lose a hand.  You can easily find these two ingredients anywhere, and the purchase of them raises no eyebrows.  Yeah, we had fun.  Again, I am not proud of these things, but I was just being a boy

Lastly, on that note, a science text book taught us how to make gunpowder.  It was easy.  If I remember correctly (and I am not googling here, just working off memory) it was saltpeter, sulfur, and charcoal.  How does a ten year old get pure sulfur?  I will tell you this, since it had nothing to do with the compound mentioned above.  You go to a garden store and buy stump remover.  Stump remover is (or was 30 years ago) 95% pure sulfur.  Again, never made a bomb (which would mean sealing both ends… you could do this with $1 worth of PVC.  Nope, never hurt anyone.  Just stupid kid stuff that I wisely and thankfully outgrew, just like drugs.  I’m over it, and hope you are, too.

Who was your best friend in elementary school?

Brian S.  Won’t say his last name out of respect for the family.  We were extremely close at all times, when we were kids.  One week his family went on vacation out of state.  A horrible, horrible accident happened and he was killed on a small motor scooter.  He was about 8, maybe.  His family rented everyone scooters.  They all kept safe to the right shoulder.  At some point, Brian got ahead of his family and went to turn around.  Since he was on the shoulder, we couldn’t turn right.  So, he turned left, which put him into traffic.  The driver had no time to react and accidentally hit him on the scooter.  Worst part of all of that is their huge family watched all this happened in front of them.

How did I find out?  Our psycho neighbors had horrible kids.  HORRIBLE.  Not things like blowing up mailboxes, but lighting cats on fire type of psycho.  I was biking home and one of their daughters, let’s call her the cunt who ruined my childhood, yelled at me that day after school as I was riding by “hey, your best friend is dead.  Got killed by a car”  I didn’t think much of it, but was a little shaken.  I got home and asked my parents and they had already been informed.  They sat me down and told me what happened.  Do you see why I called that gal a ‘cunt’?  Go ahead and google my site.  See if I have EVER used that word, ever.  I haven’t, and I shan’t.  I have too much love for women and people in general.  That girl, though, was a raging cunt and all my life I only waited for her to die.  Who tells someone something like that?  Especially just in passing?  That Hohn bitch, that’s who!  Sorry you had to see that, but his death I have never recovered from.

Man, for someone who claims to be full of joy and peace and love, I sure complain a lot.  Is this the overbearing liberal rage people hate about us libs?  Well, at least our complaints and concerns are very real.  On the right, I don’t value their outrage, because it feels manufactured.  I swear, I am nice and mostly very happy.  i don’t plan or write these questions, I just give honest feedback.  My answers are written immediately and in real time.  It’s not like I read the questions over and then think on it.  I could, but I am too lazy.  Plus, I like my writing to be conversational.  When you read me, I want it to feel like you are on the porch with me chatting.

What do you bring with you everywhere you go?

A Leatherman***, first and foremost.  Literally don’t leave the house without one.  Second, assuming I have my truck with me, is a rubber mallet.  People will tell you the most important think you can have is a heart, or smarts, or a loving family.  Those are nice, and I have those things, but a good rubber mallet is invaluable.  Especially with 5 acres to manage.

*** did you know Leatherman isn’t just the name of a tool, but the name of the guy who invented it.  Tim Leatherman, and they are still made in the US.  I mean, with a name like ‘Leatherman’, how was that guy not bound for greatness?  Do don’t buy those aftermarket copies, like Gerber.  Get your shit well made, in the US, my a family business.

Really, you need one.  I have 3.  One on my at all times, one in my truck, and one if the wifey’s car.  You can see all this online, but here is what mine has, to give you an idea how awesome they are:

  • scissors
  • belt clip (that is just before I open it)
  • needle-nose pliers
  • wire cutters
  • phillips screwdriver
  • flathead screwdriver
  • can opener
  • bottle opener
  • pocket knife w.serrated base.
  • file

mine is called the Wingman, and it was $40 at wally world.

Leatherman is a brand of multitools and knives made by Leatherman Tool Group of Portland, Oregon, US. The company was founded in July 1983 by Timothy S. Leatherman


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