Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Yes, wax is a grease!

When I was in high school I had a lot of candles in my room. There are many reasons for this:
1- Guys can be stinky. Candles remove/mask the stink.
2- Girls like candles. I liked girls. So, my teenage brain told me the more candles I had, the more the girls would like me. Made sense.
3- I have a strange obsession with light. I love flashlights, glow sticks, candles, matches, lighters, fire in general, and Christmas lights.
4- Fire is fun. Camp fires, bonfires, grills, fire pits, ghost stories, smores, dutch oven potatoes, and new year's burnathons. Candles are like little tiny memories of good times.

I had a little tea light that swallowed the wick. I figured, if I could melt the candle I could dig the wick out. A lot of work for a tea light, I know. I was a teen and bored.

I put the tea light directly on the burner of my stove and turned it on low. I'm not dumb enough to turn it on high. It worked like a charm.


A couple minutes later I could see the wick and I stuck a toothpick in bring it back to the surface. As I bumped the edge a little wax dribbled out and touched the burner. This lit the candle...not the wick I was digging out, but the wax.
It wasn't that bad, just a small flame. I watched it go for a minute or two, hoping it would just snuff itself out.


It did not go out. So, then I had to have the following conversation with myself:

Me: Hmmm. That's not good.

Brain: No kidding. You are an idiot sometimes.

Me: Really? You thought this was a good idea three minutes ago.

Brain: I changed my mind.

Me: Isn't that redundant? Can't you just say, "I changed."

Brain: Ooooh. Now who's clever? What ya going to do about the fire?

Me: Fire? Its not much bigger than a candle flame. Maybe I can blow it out.

Brain: And blow melted wax all over the burner? Yeah. That's a good idea. Why don't you move it outside first?

Me: Move it? You want me to carry liquid fire through the house to the backyard? You are stupid.

Brain: Yeah. That idea sucks. Pour some water on it.

Me: Is wax a grease? You aren't supposed to pour water on a grease fire, right? That's a thing, right?

Brain: I think so. But you can't put flour on it without dumping flour on the hot burner too.

Me: Crap.

Brain: I know! Let's do a quick test...just a drop of water.

So I grabbed a mug and put a few drops of water in it and carefully held it over the flame to let just one drop fall.
It seemed like a good idea. Just one drop. If water was bad, one drop should just spit and fizzle and be done. I didn't dump a bucket or anything. I was being smart. And, yes, I wore purple flannel.

The bible speaks now and again about a "pillar of fire." Before this experience, I had no way of imagining what that might truly look like. The water droplet hit molten wax and erupted. If you want to know what God's wrath looks like, it is similar to this:


Fire shot straight up in a cylinder of death and rolled across the ceiling before disappearing just as suddenly. Here it is again, magnified so you can see the terror in my eyes:

So it is clear...wax is a grease. DO NOT PUT WATER ON IT!! EVER! I put a metal lid on the tea light and it went out.

UPDATE: I am adding an actual picture of myself for those out there who didn't believe me about the purple flannel or believed, but could not grasp the awesomeness of that visual. It also includes my good friend, Adam, who is the main source of the awesomeness in the photo.
My wife also thinks I should change the spikey hair of my cartoons to match the longer hair of the photo. Sorry, not gonna happen. I'm a slacker. Don't believe me? I'm wearing flannel.

8 comments:

J.J. Bennett said...

Oh Charlie... This reminds be of a "Herbie" moment I had as a teenager. Drove my VW bug through a locked school gate/fence...Sometimes I wonder if teens ever think things through. I've thought about it now... No they don't EVER think anything through! EVER!

Becca Puglisi said...

Those illustrations are classic. Love the pillar of fire ;)

Becca @ The Bookshelf Muse

Charlie Pulsipher said...

Jennifer, I would like to hear the whole story sometime...maybe on a Thursday.

Becca, thank you. You can tell I worked on them for almost a whole hour Ü

Jo said...

I love the pic from high school, especially because you and Jazzy were meant to be since I know she would have dated you even then :) How's the chain coming along? Getting smaller and smaller, day by day!!!

Anonymous said...

The terror magnified was a good one. Love the terror, feel the terror!

Charlie Pulsipher said...

Thank you Jo. Jazzy would have loved me then. I was weird, slackery, brainy, and hot. Everything she was looking for.

LeAnna. Glad you felt the terror. That is what I was going for.

J.J. Bennett said...

Deal... Charlie. I have WAY too many stories from that time period.

Charlie Pulsipher said...

I look forward to it Jennifer.

I replied to Becca without really noticing who she was. Becca from The Bookshelf Muse commented on my site? She is like a movie star in the literary blog world!

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