Here in the turgid but not bursting offices of The Curmudgeon, things have been at a fever pitch since the election of our new President, Barack Obama. Firstly, I had to leave the ship awhile and leave the mice at the helm, as I attended the inauguration festivities in Washington, D.C. It was inspiring and a lot of fun. Obama moonwalking with a lampshade on his head had the whole room rolling, until Michelle passed out with her face in the ice cream, at which point the party broke up and we went back to our suites at the Watergate.
The point is, I have seriously neglected this space which I hope to remedy now, though I’m going to cheat. One thing I did manage to do is get out the old brain and excercise my literary writing muscles with a short memoir titled The Boy Who Played With Matches. I had a bit of a fire problem when I was younger, and this is a recounting of those times. It’s funny with a sweet undertone that, for some reason, makes people cry, first with laughter, but then for some reason they are at a loss to explain. Some nostalgic remembrance of their own childhood, I guess, but what the hell do I know. I consider that a success.
Here then, is a short excerpt. If you like it enough, I invite you to read the piece in it’s entirety via the link I will provide below. I also, as always, invite you to share your thoughts, insights, abusive language, insults, sexual come-on’s, opinions and criticisms–constructive or otherwise.
The Boy Who Played With Matches (excerpt)
He was only 5 years old. He had been told not to play with matches, of course, for his parents were good people. They made him eat his vegetables and limit his desserts. He wasn’t a firebug. Not really. Not a budding arsonist. No pyromania smoldering in his tiny brain. No incendiarism waiting to be struck on the emery. But humans have had a long and intense fascination with fire and so it was with this boy. It certainly wasn’t one of the usual motives for fire raising: there was no animosity, no vandalism, no psycho pathological factors, no crime scene concealment, no profit, and no political objectives, like demanding less brussel sprouts and more ice cream.
No, it was just your garden variety fascination with all things “grown-up.” The desire to be an adult. It was probably all that family talk about being descended from Davey Crockett, which may or not be true, but he just had to live in the woods, wear a coonskin cap and hunt bear, and all possible descendants of Davey Crockett know you can’t do those things if you can’t build a campfire. It’s instinctual. Maybe not for you, but it is for all possible descendants of Davey Crockett. And just maybe fire made him feel a tiny little tingle in his tiny little pecker, but I don’t really remember, for that 5 year old boy was I.
Into the Woods
There was a great expanse of woods behind our house. It was probably actually something like a copse of woods, but to me it was a forest. There were rickety tree-houses, labyrinth paths, foxholes, and secret tunnels hastily dug by the children, made all the better by the constant danger of collapsing and suffocating the little explorer within. Countless lush memories were grown in its fertile soil.
There was the time the people a mile or so down the road had their pet monkeys escape, about eight of them. My parents read about it in the paper, so we hiked down the road in the direction I had never been before, and there they were, monkey’s swinging in the trees just like in the Tarzan movies. I still don’t understand why those people had all those monkey’s, but at the time all I knew is there were monkeys in the trees. So you can take your copse of woods and shove them up your arse. I’ve got a forest. There are monkeys in the goddamn trees.
And so when the neighbor kid and I came across the carton of matches in his garage, where else would we go to practice our campfire skills but to my forest, the one with the tree houses, paths, foxholes, tunnels, and goddamn monkeys.
The Campfire in Awry
Murphy’s law says that whatever can go wrong, will go wrong. He could have said it will go wrong immediately. We carefully constructed our campfire. A clearing was chosen, clear of any stuff that might accidentally catch fire, and built a ring of stones. Our kindling was stacked neatly in the center with larger sticks piled nearby for when our campfire got going. Neither man nor beast remembers who struck the match and held it to the brittle tender.
What happened next was astounding. The fire paid no attention to our ring of stones at all and immediately began spreading across the ground like…well…wildfire. Frantically we ran round and round the burning ring stepping on flames, children performing a macabre clog-dance of death. The fire simply scooted round our tiny feet, proceeding on its merry way. Clearly, even in duress I could see that we were getting nowhere but fast. I turned to my compatriot and…there was nobody there. The bastard had bailed on me. I did what any 5 year-old boy would do. I ran. I ran and I ran. I ran faster than I had ever run before. I ran like a 5 year old possible descendant of Davey Crockett with a tingling pecker runs from a bear. Straight home to mommy.
If you enjoyed it, I invite you to read it in it’s entirety by following this link: The Boy Who Played With Matches.
Thats it for now. I promised Michelle I’d call her and give her my grandmother’s recipe for chicken and dumplings, which is for sure the best. She’s kinda hot. Uh…Michelle…not my Grandma.