Tuesday, July 5, 2011

And the propane's red glare... tanks bursting in air...

The second degree burns are healing up nicely. In my defense, they were inflicted on July 3rd and did not involve fireworks in any way.

We spent some time in Pacific City with friends this weekend and camped with them there on Saturday night. The day was as beautiful and sunny as you could ask for.

But since this is Oregon, it was obligatory that by nightfall a steady mist of rain came down for a couple hours and threatened to quash our S'mores plans. (Maybe. I don't actually know for sure what "quash" means.)

Our firewood had been soaking up the mist for a couple hours and was not willing to light, but I had both modern inventions and a lack of healthy fear on my side.

Years ago, a friend I went hunting with had given me a torch attachment for those ubiquitous (another big word), green Coleman propane tanks. It has been a real lifesaver many o' time, since I am not yet camping buddies with Cody Lundin.

If I use the torch again in the future, I will probably not use a year old tank with dents and rust on it. The torch attachment sounded funny the whole time and the flame was weak, but it was still slowly starting to light the firewood.

After about 45 seconds, the entire tank and my hands became engulfed in flames, but I quickly remembered the childhood safety tip of, "Stop, Drop and Swear".

The tank was still on fire on the ground and since I was worried about it blowing up, I yelled for everyone to get back and threw my body on top of it, like in the movies.

OK, I actually just grabbed it again, still on fire, and turned off the torch attachment. But it was still selfless and valiant and stuff.

I won't "catch a grenade for ya" like Bruno claims he would, but I will, "grab a propane tank engulfed in flames with my already burned hands and turn off the nozzle for ya". (OK, his is catchier.)

Then I continued to light the fire, but I was back to doing it like they did centuries ago whenever their firewood got soaked, with wadded up paper bags from Safeway and a lighter.

I also used the expression "wow, that got me good" about two or three hundred times and plunged my hands into a bag of ice every couple minutes for about an hour.

And then I spent the night sleeping like a baby. Which is to say, I woke up crying every 15 or 20 minutes.

I did not take pictures of the blistered second degree burns on the tops of all my fingers, but you can thank me for that.

Later the next day, enjoying a scotch night with some buddies downtown Portland, they assured me that they were disgusting looking and I was a jerk for showing it to them right before the food showed up.

I definitely learned an important lesson through all this, which is that to be safe on the 4th, I need to stick to only lighting the illegal fireworks I bought out of that guy's trunk.


  1. A. I'm really sorry about the blistered hands, especially since the s'mores never happened and your lame friends had no burn ointment or bandages for you in the First (Runner Up) Aid Kit.

    B. "Fiya-Powa!!" Think Night at the Museum II, and come up with a cool, well-deserved pseudonym for your new glow-in-the-dark fingertips. You might as well make it good and piratey, so you can pass it down to your grandchildren. I know for a fact that my future grandchildren will be very proud of "Capitana Thong-Gone-Wrong".

    C. Next time bring the scotch. You know, just to be fully prepared, and then you won't have go ALL the way back to Portland. And your lame friends can share in your misery. Just think, it's already 'someday' and we're looking back and laughing about it! Aren't we?! Pretty sure I heard some snickers from the peanut gallery...heal up, me hearty, yo ho!

  2. "Quash" according to Urbandictionary.com means "To put down or suppress forcibly and completely."

  3. I am so glad I didn't read this post until almost the end of August - I probably would have gone all mother on you and called! Still a funny post though if you had not gotten burned in the process - I did tell you about your dad almost burning down the camp on our honeymoon? You come by this honestly - its in the jeans and yeah that's spelled right....M;] - the signature is curly hair with a wink and a smile, nudge, nudge

  4. make that end of July - it only seems like two months instead of two weeks