I've never caught myself on fire, and thank the goodness for this accomplishment. Sure, like every other sane person in this world, I've tapped a butane refill cylinder into my jeans, then lit afire the cold spill. Up shoots a dandy jet of sustained flame, and quickly begins warming the leg. Practice self-immolation. This seems like it should be dangerous, and with anything but blue jeans, it probably is. But, I never have let it go far enough to burn surrounding areas, which would inevitably lead to my tragic death. Though fire has never consumed me, I have burned myself. Oh how I've burned myself.
Like all good fireworks accident stories, this one happened in the Summer. The day after Pyro Holiday. July 5th, and there I was, looking 17, with fireworks leftover from the previous night. It's sacrilege to store them, so I trekked out at dark, flammable toys in-tote, to the zero-visibility backyard. No bottle rockets, no buzzbombs, not even a salute. These were strictly fountains and single-shot aerial pieces. Pretty.
Given that my former-backyard was grassy, and a little bumpy, it could not be used. Something level and non-flammable was needed. I settled on an empty metal can that had previously been used for gift popcorn or some such. It had made it's way into the garage, and it was about the right size and weight. In went some cat litter, and with that, I was ready to begin lighting up the sky. Which I did, and oh how fun that was. Fun in an "oh God I hope nothing catches on fire and the police don't come and arrest me" sort of way (nothing did, and they didn't). Fump pop pap. One after the other, jogging around in the dark. The low-hanging clouds of smoke smelled of sausage and weed killer, and I breathed it in deeply.
Now for the burn. Quite content with myself, and throughly unexpecting a gastly accident, I began cleaning up. The still warm cardboard mortars found a home in the trash, along with the little scattered pieces they had shot out. I was neat and tidy, and it showed. The backyard look fantastic, though I could not see it. What an excellent night this had been. I love fireworks. So let me just pick up this can right here and go inside. With my full hand too, because we wouldn't want to drop it.
Dear reader, this can was no longer a popcorn can, it was a hot can. Hotter than the devil's morning coffee. My frail skin quickly fried and the can fell. I did not cry out, being a tough man and all, I just looked confused and pained. I couldn't see the hand, but I knew there were burns. I could not run inside fast enough. The hand, the hand was dying, and it felt it. Throbbing and burning, and the stinging too. There was a pain party, and everyone had been invited to rock out. All the while, I could not help think. That Dirty Fucking Can. After I patched myself up, I would kick that can as hard as possible into the wood. Stomp on it, really teach it who the boss man is, you know?
But for now, I concerned myself with my wounds. The bathroom light revealed three separate burns. They weren't horrible, but they looked and felt like a problem. I had heard of remedy for burn pain from my grandmother years before. Essentially, you start by rubbing salt into it the burn, then finish with a sandpaper and lemon juice rubdown. She's a crazy bitch, so I instead just kept my arm submerged in a bowl of water for several hours. Little spots and splashed of it got all over. Not so much fun, no.
Years later, though I can barely see the scars, I still hate that fucking uppity can.