By DARREN HANDSCHUH
No matter how I looked at it, I could not put a positive spin on an email message from my wife.
It was a single line and it made me stop cold as my mind raced through the possibilities, none of them good.
The message was as follows: Junior just called me at work and said he had to use the fire extinguisher in the kitchen today.
Like I said, not a good thing.
There were no other details and a frantic return email and more frantic calls revealed nothing other than my wife was out of the office and no one was home, that is assuming I still had a home.
As I waited for the details, my mind went from picturing a minor incident to half the city erupting in flames.
Ever hear of the big San Francisco fire where 9,000,000 buildings burned to the ground? I just hoped Junior didn't try and break that record.
I had visions of the skies over the city turning red with flame and ash while some bonehead ran around playing the fiddle.
A charred, nuclear wasteland-type scene was forming in my mind when I finally got through to my home.
Answering the phone was Junior himself.
“Hello son, is there anything going on I should know about?”
“Um, nooooooo, why would you ask?”“Nothing happened today that involved a fire extinguisher?”
“Oh, that, well ya I guess so.”
Junior, who is in his teens and therefore very grown up, very wise and very independent, went on to explain he was cooking lunch when he had a small grease fire. Apparently there was no damage and the mess was mostly cleaned up before mom got home to assess the situation.
At least he had the good sense to use the fire extinguisher to put out the mini blazing inferno.
More than once I have heard of people trying to carry a burning pan to the sink, only to have the flaming oil spill over the sides and set half the city on fire.
There are also those who decide to douse the flames with a copious amount of water. And as we all know, water and oil go together like, well, water and oil.
Oil floats on water and once again the result would have been to send flaming cooking oil all over the place resulting in a need for something greater than a fire extinguisher.
So, demerits to Zippy for starting the fire in the first place, but bonus points for thinking before acting.
I have to admit I never set the house on fire when I was a kid.
A mountain yes, the house, no.
When I was around 10 years old a buddy and myself were lighting small weeds on fire with a magnifying glass. The weed would smoke, then ignite and we would put it out and move on to the next one.
As fate would have it, the hills were extremely dry that year and we didn't get one fire out quite fast enough and a pile of tumbleweeds were set ablaze faster than a 10 year old could say, “That's it, we're dead.”
Realizing we could not put the fire out ourselves, we ran to his house which was next to the vacant field where the 'incident' was taking place and told his dad, who ironically enough, happen to be a fire fighter.
He grabbed a garden hose, shovel and a pick-ax and he and a couple neighbours put the fire out with no real damage.
I would like to say we all had a good laugh at the 'accident,' but that would be like saying the Titanic had a little problem with a piece of ice.
I was 19 years old before I was ungrounded.