Words of Wisdom

Tell Your Damned Story

Dsmitty addressing cavers who come back and try to avoid telling their cave story….

What's Your Story

Once when I was twelve years old, I got the best idea ever (or so it seemed at the time). You see, my parents recently divorced and my mother had returned to work to support the family. This provided me with several glorious hours of unsupervised time every day after school. In those days the internet was for MIT grad students playing text based MMRPGs and the rest of us had never even heard of it. Instead, we had a set of the “World Book Encyclopedia.” Because I was bored, and I might add a dangerously smart little deviant, I decided to make gunpowder using the recipe provided in said “World Book Encyclopedia.” See, I was fortunate, the internet wasn’t readily available or you would have to replace gunpowder with something like nitroglycerin or small thermonuclear device in the following story. Needless to say, had that been the case, I probably wouldn’t have survived long enough to somehow lose my stunning intelligence and make the unbelievably stupid decision to start dipping several years later. But I digress.

The ingredients for simple black powder were, and I assume still are, readily available at the supermarket. So, I procured said ingredients and turned the family garage into my version of Los Alamos. Having manufactured a small quantity, probably half a pound, of black powder, I needed to test it out. My second stroke of brilliance was to pack the half pound of gunpowder into a small shoebox and insert a length of canon fuse. That’s right . . . canon fuse. You think kids today have cool stuff because of video games and shit, but we could buy canon fuse at any hobby shop. However, I was worried that my small bomb would not be impressive enough. Cue my third stroke of brilliance. I filled a plastic sandwich bag with gasoline, sealed it with a twist tie, and added it to the shoebox. Now, where to set it off?

I took my small napalm flash box of death to the back yard. It was a beautiful autumn day with fallen leaves covering the ground several inched deep. Like a Norman Rockwell painting if he liked to include figures from Al Qaida. At this point, some of you can see where this is headed. . . but it gets better. I lit the fuse and stepped back. Nothing. I have no idea what happened, but the fuse did not ignite the powder. It did however start the cardboard burning at the point the fuse passed through a hole in the box. Thinking the burning box might do what the fuse didn’t, I waited and watched while the flames slowly grew. Unfortunately, nothing happened and I was also a dangerously impatient twelve year old. Fourth stroke of brilliance . . .

I decided to put out the smoldering box by smashing it with a shovel.
The only thing that saved me from life as an extra in the Walking Dead was that the shovel head was attached at an angle causing the fiery spray of gasoline and gunpowder to shoot out and away from me. Remember those leaves? Yeah, I may have narrowly missed my spot on the Darwin awards, but the whole back yard was now on fire. I scrambled around for the next 15 or 20 minutes beating out the flames with the very shovel I almost killed myself with. Fires out, now what?

Fifth stroke of brilliance . . . stir the burnt leaves in with the not burned leaves and pretend it never happened. Two problems. First, maybe Lucifer’s backyard normally looks like this in the fall, but large amounts of blackened leaves are not common in my neighborhood. Second, my house had a bay window looking out on the backyard. My mom was home for about two seconds before the wrath of pissed off, recently divorced and therefore already slightly emotionally unstable mother came crashing down on my head.

Truth is though, I was lucky, but not just because I managed to escape a fiery death. I would have pretended none of it happened and probably would have done something similar again of I got away with it. No, I was lucky that I had someone to call me on my stupidity and make me wish I had never done it. You see, I learned something from it.

We all make mistakes, but not all of us are fortunate enough to have people who care enough to tell us what dumb fuckers we really are. Another reason to listen if you do, instead of trying to pretend it never happened.

NOTE: This piece written by KillTheCan.org forum member DSmitty

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