Boys, Part V

Matches.

Boy.

Put the two together and you get

Fire.

Is there a boy who isn’t fascinated with fire? A boy who doesn’t want to make a fire when he can? A boy who hasn’t played with matches? A boy who hasn’t almost burned either himself or someone else?

That fascination has to be one of those Y chromosome things.

I see matches as useful items, not a source of entertainment. To me a fire is a source of warmth.

Boys look at matchbooks and see thrills, daring possibilities, dangerous excitement. They can’t resist.

My sons come by their fire fascination honestly. Family legend has it that when my father and a friend were kids (back in the 1930’s), they once set a barn on fire. Their purpose for doing so? They wanted to see the fire engines come. The fire engines did indeed come, but it wasn’t just a barn that felt the heat that day!

Today I came across a journal entry dated ten years ago. Mr. Matterhorn was 13 at the time.

"The other day, while waiting for everyone to come out of the house and get in the car, Matterhorn decided to see if he could light all the matches in a matchbook at once. He hadn't thought about how hot it would get and soon realized that if he didn't dispose of the flaming matchbook quickly, his hand would burn. He disposed of the matchbook quickly.

Himself came out of the house and noticed smoke coming from the plastic garbage can. Closer investigation revealed that the can contained a fire. Himself had to pour two buckets of water in the garbage can to put out the fire. It was a very quiet ride...

What was Matterhorn's comment later that day? He thought we should be pleased that he exhibited some common sense; he lit the matchbook near the garbage can, instead of inside the house!"

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2 responses to “Boys, Part V

  1. I can relate. My son nearly set fire to our cottage — just because he wanted to see if he could melt a plastic “army man” with a Bic lighter.

    Yes. He could. Also the blanket and part of his mattress.

  2. Oh boy. It’s a wonder that most little guys manage to grow up unscathed.

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