Don’t do this at home… unless you invite me over!

30 Nov

I have no illusions about my life. It has not been, what most people would consider, thrilling. In fact, it has really been pretty damn dull, if you asked me. Even so, there have occasionally been some brief flashes of excitement that stand out in my memory and make me wonder how I turned out to be the fully-grown, chemically-balanced, mature adult I am today (stop laughing).

And so, today’s blog entry focuses on my fixation with blowing things up.

NOTE: For the benefit of those readers that happen to be members of a law enforcement agency, you should know that this blog is purely fictional. It is merely an amusing outlet for my playful and creative, if sometimes violent, inner child. None of the things you read in this blog entry have any foundation in reality. Not one shred of it contains any believable or, dare I say, prosecutable information.

NOTE: For everyone else… That last note is bullshit. I totally did all this crap!

Now… back to the story.

I suppose I was pretty typical as a child in respect to my fascination with fire. Using a magnifying glass to make the ants in my back yard feel the fiery wrath of their angry god was a frequent summertime activity. But, what started as a desire to burn things, eventually blossomed into a yearning to blow things up. And so, like millions of other people, despite the fact that it is against the law, I used to buy fireworks every 4th of July and set them off in front of my house. I mostly bought the standard stuff: firecrackers, bottle-rockets, roman candles, jumping-jacks and so-on. However, no matter what I bought each year, the resulting pyrotechnic display was always… lackluster, in my opinion.

One year, right around July 4th, I was flipping through channels, when I came upon Barney, that ridiculous purple dinosaur-ish thing, while he was in the middle of a song that was clearly designed to convince the children in the audience that he wasn’t just a pedophile in a large purple costume. I had seen him before, and thus I am not entirely sure why this particular moment was any different, but I decided right then and there that he had to die.

So, I went out to the nearest toy-store and purchased a stuffed Barney hand-puppet…

Clerk (cheerfully): Heya! Welcome to Toy Palace.  How can I help you?
Me: I require a stuffed Barney.
Clerk (happily): Sure, we have loads of those!  Who’s the luckly little kid?
Me: Fool!  This is not for one mere child!  This is for the justice of children everywhere!
Clerk (nervously): You… um… don’t like Barney?
Me: No.  I loathe him.  I am going to destroy him.
Clerk begins to cry.

I bet you think you know where this is going. You probably think I strapped an M80 to his chest and sent his fluffy purple ass to meet — and be subsequently rejected by — whatever poor saint drew gate duty that day. Well, guess again! You are wrong on several points:

    1. It was a blockbuster
    2. I sewed it into his chest
    3. I sincerely doubt he went in that direction to begin with

NOTE: A blockbuster has the explosive force of 1/2 a stick of dynamite, and this was a hand-puppet. The term “unbalanced response” comes to mind.

Once he was properly prepared, I put him on display for all to see during our 4th of July party. Then, later that day, before it got dark, I placed him in the middle of the street, lit the fuse, and watched as the blockbuster disintegrated Barney, with a loud and satisfying “thwump”, scattering millions of Barney molecules all over the neighborhood.

It was a breathtaking experience, not just for me, but for all onlookers (well, except for maybe a few of the younger kids… cry-babies!). We filmed it, of course, and watched it over and over for the rest of the night, raising a toast every time Barney met his explosive end.

Given our great success with Barney, we decided to repeat the event the following year. This time, however, it was the red Power Ranger (Jason) who was the focus of our ire. The explosion the previous year, while adequate for Barney, didn’t quite pack the punch that Jason deserved so we upgraded from the blockbuster to the pineapple which gave us the staggering power of a full stick of dynamite.

I fondly remember Jason’s detonation. As I recall, his head sailed so high up in the air that we were surprised by the “thud” as it landed well after the smoke had cleared.

Each year, as the show got bigger, so did the crowd. The following year, the crowd was so large that we had to block off both ends of the street. The main event that year was: Elmo.

Frankly, I am surprised he wasn’t the first. If there are any child icons that need to be rigorously dismembered, it is he. The other two were just plain annoying, but Elmo, in my opinion, was much worse. Here is a character, on an educational show for children, that doesn’t actually speak proper English! It’s like having Jar Jar Binks teach your kids (“Meesa gonna teechoo eenglits!”).

After a brief search, we found a huge stuffed Elmo. He was about 2 feet tall, and built like a big fluffy pillow. It was clear to us that something that size deserved more than just a measly pineapple! So, we taped two together and surgically implanted them in his chest.


IgnitionThat year was the only year we actually used a homemade electrical ignition system, and as you can see, we had an extravagant materials budget. Not just any cigar box would do; only one that was filled with hand-made cigars that were imported from Honduras!

No, it wasn’t pretty, but it enabled us all to be at least 25-30 feet away from Elmo when his payload was ignited. And, since we were now talking about the equivalent of two sticks of dynamite, volunteers to light it by hand were pretty scarce.

As I said, Elmo was about 2 feet tall, and very pillow-like. So, in order to enable him to stand upright in the street, we had constructed a cardboard stand. Basically, he was propped up in a box with his arms sticking straight out from his sides.

Just as the fuse was nearing its end, his right arm slipped from its perch and fell back down to his side; almost as if he was waving goodbye. And, just as it reached his side… he exploded with a concussive blast, spraying flaming bits of plastic stuffing everywhere.

The timing could not have been better. I am getting all choked up just thinking about it.

Maybe it was because we matured a bit. Maybe we began to value our lives more as we got older. Or maybe it was just because explosive fireworks became harder and harder to come by. But, sadly, Elmo was our last victim.

It’s a crying shame too, because we had our next show all planned out. The guest of honor was going to be Dora the Explorer, and the show was going to be entitled: “Dora the Exploder”!

You live, for now, Dora. But I’d watch your back if I were you!

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Posted by on November 30, 2008 in Memory Lane


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