Given my foot-dragging physique and propensity to chase small animals and scooters for sport, it probably comes as no surprise to you that my presence is not always a welcomed one outside of my lair. Don’t worry – I have plenty of friends who have long gotten past the shedding, Tourettes barks, and pungent smell of asparagus that follows my forked tongue wherever I go. No, my problem is that smoke and fire alarms seem unusually attracted to me like I’m some kind of 666 “Iblis whisperer”.
I admit making things smoke came easy for me as a child, though I just thought of myself as ‘curious’ rather than as some freakishly devilish ‘Bill-ze-bub’. Oh sure I once shared a BBQ lunch with my friends in my room in which THEY were on the menu. But fortunately my pals were fluffy n’stuffed and only got their hindquarters singed, as so did I soon after from my parents. As I grew up I turned to the magic of melting crayons on the school’s radiator to exude a wonderfully waxy waft of 64 colors and the envy of all, save for the pursed-lipped teacher.
By middle school I continued to practice my true calling by accidentally setting my Grandmother’s neighbor’s yard on fire. Fortunately the neighbors liked my Grandmother more than me and didn’t like mowing anyway. As a teen I soon found myself poking around floor electrical plates and electronics projects at school. Such adventures were almost always accompanied by sparks, smoke, occasional fires, and the obligatory power-outage, alarm bells and the teacher’s groans. Even recently a chemistry professor and I unleashed an experiment to form pure carbon by brightly burning magnesium inside a tomb of dry ice. Sadly the ionized air and whisp of smoke was enough to burp up a high-school clearing evacuation alarm in the middle of 30 degree weather.
By now though, I have mostly harnessed my frequent mistakes with electricity, gasoline, black powder, model rockets and crayons with all my claws intact. Believe it or not, I am STILL brave enough to take both my toast and catfish blackened. Hopefully my ‘alarming personality’ will not prove to be an issue for my new neighbors if I move to the city. Oddly, unlike high school kids, most folks probably won’t appreciate the ‘adventure’ of evacuating 30 flights of stairs in a downtown apartment should I have a midnight snack mishap.