This Accidental Arsonist

MATTHEW HARRIS

Both parents (but especially my father – the renowned Chemist B.B. Harris and to a slightly lesser extent the late culinary cuisine queen Harmit Harms Kuritsky – the gal whose troth he pledged while holding some bubbling sinister looking flask in hand on their first guinea pig type date) encouraged incurred genetic yen that burned from without the buns of this son!

No matter a bit tentative to experiment willy-nilly (wonka-like) with rather explosive material, I received truckloads of ammunition (in tandem with benevolent benediction) to foster dare devil and derelict pyromaniac precocity!

Those formative forays assaying, assessing and carefully calibrating this, that or the other liquid or powdery substance found me meticulously measuring and weighing the substances using kitchen midden malodorous kid gloves!

Frequent disappointment arose from yours truly as well as momma and papa when the net result (of these early attempts to blend powders and/or liquids) merely fizzled and self extinguished into a near inaudible poof!

Continual daily practice eventually bore successful fruit in the form of near perfect results!

Success in the hotly contested field sans Pyrotechnics requires a striking resemblance to any other vocation. One must be able, eager, ready and willing to maintain that burning passion no matter any unforeseen setbacks or heat from an objectionable source!

I do sheepishly admit to (ahem) you that on occasion the outcome went awry! Nonetheless, they prided their potential fire branded wizard in the making with kudos and praise with DYNAMITE!

Practice from indiscriminately creating unpredictable concoctions, these lethally marshaled nonchalant opportunities provided quintessentially random results though usually very wimpy!

As proof positive and proud testimony, they proudly pointed (upward) to the kitchen ceiling. There such handiwork practically covered the entire ceiling with variegated splotches!

Quite accurate to assume that father and mother coached, goaded, and nurtured exploratory ambitions and tried not to stifle (at least consciously or deliberately) my early stage ambition toward a scientific artiste bent!

As a home schooled and (to some extent self taught chemically romanced muralist), I grew up (not surprisingly) in a Unitarian household that paid close attention also adhered to the pioneer spirit!

The near limitless boundaries of life, liberty and the pursuit of understanding an underlying credo, which allowed, enabled and provided one near endless experimentation even at the risk of life and limb.

Aside from nearly burning down the house amidst talking heads practically in dire straits, an instinctive reflex found me immolating myself, occasionally singeing the canine fur of Lady, Schultz, or Socrates, etcetera no frightful catastrophic outcomes occurred thru the milieu of mixing deceptively harmless looking inert raw materials!

Trial and error (quite successful with the latter) via blithely cooking dicey elements forming goulash hiccuping laboratory mishmash practically eliminated any pained regret to take daring risks (such as getting married – ha) in later life!

Despite this favorable and lovable upbringing, my mother (ever the protector and/or proctor of our family and an excellent chef boy r dee to boot) still managed to insinuate (as gently as possible) the necessity to be careful when igniting flammable materials lest some uncontrollable conflagration ensue.

She (mom) did frequently confess to feeling ever so slightly jittery and uneasy with my slapdash amateurish home brewed pyrotechnics and much preferred to steer my attention toward a safer hobby such as the edible objet’s d’arts i.e., the much more drab field per how to present and aesthetically appealing and nutritious meal.

Fondness to prepare food and pretend to be a faux renowned cook (this confession admitted rather baldly and obviously deduced) actually competed for my most favorite avocation activity and spare leisure time!

In other words, this chap did relish designing his own recipes mainly from leftovers in tandem with unpronounceable multi-syllabic organic compounds that filled numerous sized dishes and aged apothecary bottles respectively.

Without question though, the passion plus less riskier factor to combine and potchka dry and wet ingredients together did rank as a considerably safer medium that still allowed, enabled and provided me an equal opportunity to test reactions, than those earlier iterated potentially explosive hazards.

Nonetheless, my cavalier crusading overactive appetite, hunger and thirst to discover causative outcomes (even with purportedly innocuous looking household cleaning supplies or easily acquired inert materiel) nearly witnessed an apocalypse at blank Level Road on one particular occasion our domicile to become rent asunder into an ashen funeral pyre, yet for the grace of some divine force no family members nor pets succumbed from smoke.

Best for me to sprinkle this expose with the essential highlights and let the reader be amused (and chuckle to her/himself at how she/he possibly conducted a similar antic during their age of innocence and precocious childhood) with miraculous intervention from the pranks of yesteryear.

Although decades now removed from the inferno in question, I can still vividly recall the horrific shell shocked sensation that nearly paralyzed my being and kept me stock still for what seemed like eons.

Mere fractal like fragments just barely recollected upon that indelible frightful charred brush with death!

Unsure even to this day, what exactly sparked the fiery maelstrom. Only vague hypothesis can be formulated quite some decades post that near cataclysmic event!

Perhaps the dial to bake or broil got set overly high. Maybe while the need to use the bathroom could not be deferred one more second, the rising contents inside a pan splattered over the side? This possibly set an eruption in motion?

Anyway after the flames got extinguished even the most hardened and skilled sleuth found great difficulty to pinpoint the source even after spending countless hours sifting thru the scorched rubble. As a result, all fingers immediately pointed at yours truly!

I can still recall with clarity that loud and near deafening boom, which blasted off the oven door.

Sounds from this out rage mimicked angry birds cawing, whereby forked flames shot and spiked out in all directions. Hot embers of fire burst forth with scintillating fascination (including accompanying pops) like some July forth celebration. In addition, an intense heat nearly melted the paint off the walls, but mercifully managed to stay clear of those frescoes a la king!

Fire engines raced, aligned chutes and ladders (none felt sorry to monopolize the crisis), and broke windows to rescue and give candy cane striped marshmallows to those trapped inside. This treat (a little trick of the trade) known to help stick-to-itiveness whenever havoc struck, especially pertaining to the hungry licking fiery sharp toothed flames in the throes of consuming innocent lives from the paws and maws of death

Thank Dog Smoky the Bear sprung out of thick choke filled air! Although considered a fictitious character, he donned life like qualities that quickly muted this mortal male!

Although rather squeamish to pay obeisance to hero worship, I duly attest that these series of unfortunate found me (a mere measly bipedal hominid reduced to muttering ruff doggerel) cowering in the face of said action figure stamping out vestigial smoldering embers upon the alter of Ares threatening the warp and woof extant on this animal planet!

No matter this innocuous spark triggered an out of control fatal impact inflaming bark to be stripped from weeping willow, other flora and fauna just barely managed to escape the wrath of being scorched.

All creatures great and small thankfully survived this serious conflagration from a potentially deadly demise!

So… any amateur explosive scientists wannabe please be mindful to match your wits with unexpected dangers that could unwittingly spark a raging and possibly towering inferno.


Matthew Scott Harris (the second offspring and only son of boyce and the late harriet harris) made his unheralded debut on a brutally cold January thirteenth! Once awareness blossomed within thee Iris of each eye, Mother Nature with his proclivity to become most grounded when basking in the seasonal pastel of sounds and smells! This predilection a rose and stemmed from self-propelled exposure to fauna and flora. His father – employed as a mechanical engineer with general electric – heard the powerful lungs of this gangly newborn prior to being permitted to cradle said nada so terrible infant! Born in Cincinnati, Ohio, this sole son spent the majority of his existence at two rural areas fifty plus four years ago! Extreme shyness in tandem with a congenital speech defect (submucous cleft palate) seemed to alienate him from other classmates. He graduated without any vocational idea (despite an ignoble attempt to fail – and yet got promoted nonetheless), and then endured parental wrath equal ultimatums with scathing expletive filled lectures! The absence of clear-cut goals found him enrolling and withdrawing from countless colleges and/or universities. Delay with interpersonal success accompanied like a dark shadow creeping closer like the edge of night!

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