If shit is about to go down, trust the fact that it’ll happen to me. If you look up, “Murphy’s Law” in the dictionary, you’ll see my picture. Also, see “Shit Happens.” If you happen to be near me when the shit goes down, you’ll be documented as a witness, casual observer or a casualty of circumstance. Maybe all three. Don’t worry though, I have 9 lives. I think. I’m not sure how many I have left, so you might want to be prepared to run. Whatever you do, be selfish and save yourself.
Sometimes I think I should go through life wearing a helmet…or a fire-retardant suit.
Case in point:
When I moved from Texas to New Hampshire, I had to learn things a little differently. Like, prepare for snow, but that’s another story entirely. Anyway, I wasn’t used to having to heat my house with propane, which turned out not to be a big deal (just keep the tanks full and turn on the heat. Who’d a thunk it?) and while I had heard of “pilot lights,” I had never had to deal with one.
I woke up that morning and there was a frosty chill in the air. OK, icicles were hanging from my nose and the dogs teeth were chattering. I slept under a goose down blanket (so did the dogs) so I never knew it was chilly until I crawled out of bed. I decided to turn on the heat until the wood stove got to roarin’, but, the heat didn’t kick on. I sighed, knowing that the propane tanks must be too low and it was going to be another $300+ out of the window. I hated those tanks! I went outside and tromped through the snow and saw that the tanks were at 50% each (I had two tanks). Hmmmph! I called the gas company and the lady that answered suggested I check the pilot light. I could have sworn I heard a *giggle*. I just knew that she was rolling her eyes at me and was probably telling the whole office about the Redneck who just called that wasn’t smart enough to figure out the little shit in life like pilot lights. I felt like an idiot for not thinking about that possibility, but I hadn’t had to deal with it since I bought the house. It easily slipped my mind, but whatever. So, I figured I’d take the snotty-gas-company-employee’s suggestion and check it out. I got payback as I mocked her. Standing in my kitchen. Alone. Nobody saw it, but that’s not what matters. The point is, I got payback!
To be prepared for the official lighting of the pilot light, I figured I would take some matches with me down to the basement, because I didn’t want to have to take a second trip. I’m lazy, what can I say? Now, don’t assume that I took the whole box with me because that would be silly. I would only need 1 match and another one for a possible back-up. So, two matches it was!
Now, these were not just any matches. These were those “strike anywhere” matches. The kind you can give the evil eye to and they light up. Yeah, those kind.
I was about to descend the stairs to the basement and…and…and, I don’t know what happened, but it seems I lost my depth perception and missed the first step. I started to tumble…quick! I grabbed the wooden railing with my left hand but I kept sliding downward and my pinkie got caught on the metal thingie that holds the railing to the wall. CRACK was the sound that came from my bone. It hurt like a bitch! I started to sweat. I reached around with the right hand (the one holding the matches) to try and free my broken pinkie, but when I did, the matches hit the wood railing. You guessed it…SWOOSH…the matches lit up like a Molotov cocktail. Now, mind you, any sane, normal person would have dropped the matches, but not me. I held onto those suckers until the fire reached my thumb and caught on fire. Have you ever seen the movie, “Young Frankenstein?”
Yep. That was me, except I was still falling down the stairs. I know this seems like this was all happening in slow motion, but I assure you that it was mere seconds.
At this point, I hadn’t really realized my thumb was on fire. It might have been the adrenaline, but once I felt the searing heat, I threw the matches down to the bottom of the basement and blew out the fire on my thumb like a birthday candle. Happy Birthday to me! Happy Birthday to me! Happy Birthday you damn, dumb redneck. Happy Birthday to me!
The night before, I had thrown down a pair of pants so I could put them in the washer later that morning, but now that was no longer a concern, because they were now on fire, thanks to the matches. I saw the fire, unhooked my throbbing pinkie and jumped down to the bottom, skipping the rest of the 12 steps. When I landed, I twisted my ankle and fell backward hitting my head on the cement and passed out.
When I woke up, the fire was smoldering. My favorite pants were ruined. My head, ankle, and pinkie were throbbing and swelling faster than a tick on a dog (not the head, thank goodness). My blackened (yes, black) thumb was searing from the heat. What did I do? I cried. What else? After my pity party, I tried to stand up, but my ankle put a stop to that. I wondered how I would get to the top of the stairs now that all my limbs (except my right leg) was now damaged, but I couldn’t stay down there, especially without a phone. I feared that I was about to pass out again. The nausea was building and the light at the end of the tunnel was getting further away. I laid back down, rolled over, placed my cheek against the cool cement floor and sighed, choking back more tears.
Eventually, I made it back up the stairs…crawling. I survived, but when I went to the doctor, my pinkie was splinted and so was my ankle. Crutches were added to the mix. I had a concussion. The black skin on thumb was scraped off, which left a huge hole that took forever to heal. To top it all off, I had to call my manager at work and explain what happened. It sort of sounded like the “dog who ate my homework” story. Naturally, he didn’t believe me. I used to work from home, but when I went into the office a few days later to rebuild a server, he saw the evidence and thought I had been attacked by a bear. I felt like telling him to stick it (whatever “it” was) up his ass, but refrained.
Yes, maybe I need full body armor the next time I decide to walk anywhere. It wasn’t a funny story at the time, but I laugh about it now. I think I’m more amazed that I have made it to the ripe old age of 29 (+13). And for crying out loud, stand at least 20 feet away from me. For your own safety!