Thursday Thirteen: Extra Awesome Edition

Today’s Thursday Thirteen is brought to you by my dear husband, Tim. Now, I may be biased, but I think my husband is a damn funny writer, so when he offered to write this week’s 13, I jumped at the opportunity. I now present to you, in all of it’s glory…

Tim’s Thursday Thirteen

Below, In no particular order is a list of thirteen of the stupidest things I’ve ever done. It’s not the top thirteen because I’m sure I’ve experienced head trauma at some point and therefore may never be able to compile a full list. Read in astonishment and you will finally understand why Audrey fears our children will inherit my impulses.

  1. BB – If you have ever operated a pump-action air rifle then you know that the more you pump the further the BB goes. Simple principal, really — more air pressure equals more force and destructive power. The average shot is between ten and twenty pumps. So it’s only natural for one to be curious about what kind of power one pump would hold. I decided that the most effective way to satisfy my curiosity was to shoot myself in the toe. It made a hell of a lot of sense at the time. In hindsight, however, I don’t recommend it.
  2. Nail – Have you ever stood on the tip of your toe and spun around? You might not do it regularly as an adult, but as a child spinning is pretty freaking awesome. With the childhood desire to spin and a childlike concept of gravity I came across a board with a nail sticking up through the middle of it. While my knowledge of gravity was minute, my knowledge of friction was sound and I knew that spinning on the tip of a nail would allow for much more spinning which would be much more fun. Boy was I wrong! It’s possible that my light weight and thick sneakers would have protected me from a punctured foot if I were to have just stepped on this nail. There was absolutely no chance, however, when I began spinning and turned the nail into a rusty drill bit. I limped for weeks and had to sit out on Jelly-Bean-Day at school.
  3. Glass – I went through a time when I liked to pretend that I could draw. I would trace pictures out of my comics and put them up in my room. So very proud was I. In order to trace in greater detail I took a glass door off my entertainment center and put a light below it. This was great, but a bit large and unwieldy, so I took my piece of glass to the garage. Now, I had never cut glass before, but how hard could it be? Score and snap, right? I laid the glass on the floor and grabbed a nearby box cutter. This may come as a shock to you, but box cutters don’t do much to glass. After a lot of trying I had a scratch that went about seventy five percent of the way across. I decided this was definitely enough scoring and placed the glass on a 2×4 with the scratch right down the middle. I then placed a foot on each side of the glass. My weight bowed the glass, and nothing “snapped.” I got off to reevaluate. After deciding that the problem was the width of the 2×4, I turned it on its side and placed the glass back on top. This, however, created another problem. If I stepped on one side, the other side of the glass went high in the air and the 2×4 fell over. There was only one reasonable solution. I fetched a chair and stood on it, poised to jump onto the glass, pushing both sides down at the same rate, and SNAPping the glass in half. As I fell onto the glass it exploded in every direction (tempered glass, who knew). Now, the actions described are pretty stupid, but they reach a new level when I reveal to you all that I did this all barefoot.
  4. Bubbles – Ahh, Christmas time — the best time of the year. Growing up we had a special kind of lights on our Christmas tree. They were and are called bubble lights. If you have no idea what I’m talking about let me explain, the lights bubbled, we clear? Now, how could this technology not fascinate me? Trick question, it did. I snagged a vile of bubbly fluid off our tree and concluded that it somehow worked by applying heat to the bottom of the glass vile. If a small Christmas tree light made it bubble, what would heat from a candle do? Well, I’ll tell you. It will make it explode and send blue liquid and shards of glass in every direction. As I looked in amazement at the blue streak that I had just permanently applied to our front foyer I also noticed blood above my eye. I ran to the bathroom and found that I had been hit with a shard of glass below my eyebrow, nearly blinding myself. As I fished the shard of glass out with tweezers I decided that I needed to be more careful. Of course, I was not.
  5. Ninja – As I ponder this one I must look back in astonishment that during my ninja years, which were filled with knifes, swords, stars, and grappling hooks, I never hurt myself. Years earlier, however, I decided to make my first ninja star out of paper. Being that this is me making a ninja star, it has to have a little something extra; and that is when I found the razor blades. The plan was to tape four blades onto the star and make a weapon of awesomeness. The reality was that these were the first razor blades I’d ever seen and I decided to see how sharp they were. The ninja star project ended with me running to the bathroom with a bloody hand. I’ve avoided razor blades ever since.
  6. Independence – Growing up we would always spend about a hundred bucks each year on fireworks for the fourth. One year we had a vast amount of duds. Being the conservative I am, I did not want this fun to go to waste. So, hidden in my tree house, a friend and I spent about an hour emptying all the duds into a communal pile of explosive power. We then took turns putting matches into it trying to start it on fire. After what seemed like forever with no success, we huddled around our pile and lit the whole book of matches, carefully placing it on top of the pile. As we watched, BANG. We both flew backwards as massive amounts of smoke spilled out of the tree hose. Looking at each other in shock we heard my father from a distance: “Tim, what are you doing.”
  7. Eyebrows – In Jr. High I knew people, I knew people who could get things, things someone like me would want. This is how I came to posses a can of gunpowder. Now, if you are reading these in order, you know of my previous explosive powder experience. This, however, was a different kind of powder and needed a test of its own. I took a large popcorn can I had and poured a thin layer of powder over the bottom. Standing over the can so as not to miss the action, I dropped in a match. All I remember is smoke and heat, When the smoke cleared I felt my hair and noticed it was sticking straight up. Back to the bathroom I went only to find that every hair on my face was gone — eyebrows AND lashes. The hair on my head was singed and a tangled mess of melted protein. The next day we went on a several-week-long tour of Europe, so I have plenty of family photos to remind me of this one.
  8. Electricity – For a long time I wanted to be an inventor. Unfortunately, I also knew nothing about, well, anything. Thus my “inventions” were merely other items I had taken apart and made unsafe, such as a digital alarm clock placed into a Kleenex box. But this is about my one true invention, which could have killed me. I call it the TKM only because looking back I think its only possible function could have been To Kill Me. I constructed it out of a board with nails in it, wire, and an electric plug. It looked much like you might imagine wires wrapped around nails leading to a plug would look. On its first test it blew the power, caught on fire, and scarred the wall. As you might expect, I didn’t give it a second round of tests.
  9. Barbed – Wire that is. I grew up in a rural area far away from anything fun like stores or friends, so when I used to sneak out at night I would go to the coolest place around, the community recycling center. One night, as a friend and I prowled the dirt roads at three in the morning on our way to rifle through the recycled magazines in search of any kind of adult material (we never found any), a car approached. We always hid whenever we saw cars, so my instinct was to jump to the side of the road. In this case, however, the side of the road was a steep hill ending in a trip line made of sharp barbed wire. My ankle quickly became the size of a, umm, something. It was swollen, okay? We decided to head back and not peruse the mags. Two miles later and in a lot of pain I finally could examined the damage. It was bad.
  10. Horseshoe – One day I came across a long wire stretching across a dried lake. The wire went from high in one tree to low in another. Familiar with zip lines, I concluded that was what it was. I searched for a pulley system so that I could experience the thrill this strange wire had to offer. I found none; What I did find was a horseshoe. It seemed to fit the criteria of what I needed to ride the wire, so I started climbing. At the top I slung the shoe over the line and pushed off. It was great — the longest zip line and free fall I’d ever done. About four seconds later, as I came to a stop dangling about twenty feet above the ground, it became not so awesome. Now, a twenty foot fall isn’t really that bad, and a soft lake bed doesn’t make for a bad drop. What worried me, however, as my grip slowly slipped, was that I was about to slingshot this horseshoe straight up, and what goes up then comes down. Not being able to hold on any more I dropped and promptly covered my head with my arms. A split second later the horseshoe landed about a foot in front of me, burying itself in the ground. I used pulleys for all zip lines after that.
  11. Rocket – Model rockets are great, but one day I asked myself “why do you need a rocket?” My theory interested a friend of mine, and I set forth in discovering a “safe” way to ignite the rocket engine and see what happened. What I found was little spinning firecrackers that shoot a single stream of fire out one side. I taped a fire cracker to the ignition point on the engine so that fire would shoot down the end of the rocket engine. Back to the recycling center we went and at two forty five AM our first non-rocket rocket engine flight took place. It worked, kinda. It flew up in the air spinning quickly and shot off in a random direction with a massive amount of force. Not having been killed by the rogue projectile, we continued to set of some bottle rockets. When the Police came, we hid, but that’s another story.
  12. Pennies – A little known fact outside of the pyro world is that pennies melt at a fairly low heat. I decided to make an arrowhead out of pennies in our kitchen. How, you may ask? Well let me tell you. I placed pennies on top of quarters and heated them on the stove. This left a challenge, however: how do I get them off the burner and to my mold? I decided to go with a fork. The first transfer went fine, but as I crossed the kitchen with the second penny it dropped onto our linoleum floor. As it began burning into the floor I looked up at my mother and could see that with all the books she must have read on parenting, none of them covered this situation, and she was at a loss for words. And thus our kitchen floor, last I saw it, had a perfect impression of a penny burned into it. Again, no shoes were involved in this activity.
  13. Bee – I’m not a hunter. I’ve killed a few birds and squirrels and just don’t like the feeling, so I decided to begin hunting a smaller game — Bumble Bees. As I lurked through our front yard one summer stalking my flower eating prey, I came across the perfect bee. Big, slow, and mean looking. I placed the barrel of my BB gun centimeters from the bee and focused on the kill. As he suckled his last flower, I pulled the trigger. I then heard a noise that I had only heard once before. It was the sound of shattering glass, I looked up and saw that I had shot our front door. In a panic I looked over at my friend who looked back at me and said, “That was the coolest thing I’ve ever seen.” You can tell a lot about your friends by how they react to situations that are going to change your life. After a lot of explaining and reassurance by me that I did in fact rid my parents’ property of a killer bee everything blew over, but I’ll always remember that feeling of O SHIT!

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