I moved to Florida in 1991. Being from Jersey, I didn’t know too much about trailer homes and what not. So when the school year started and a kid invited me over to his house for the weekend, I was terrified when his bus drove into the woods and dropped us off at his trailer home. We were so far from civilization. My brief culture shock was erased when we headed to the movie theater to see a double feature – Child’s Play 3 and Pure Luck, the latter being so fucking awful it still gives me nightmares.
We planned this weekend for weeks. We were the only 2 kids in our class who wanted to see Chucky fuck some shit up again. So I ended up not caring about where he lived – I just wanted to see this movie. It was to be a weekend to remember.
Saturday morning, I was introduced to something I had no idea existed… in this kid’s backyard, was a big pit of garbage. It was kind of gross. He woke me up and said, “Come on man, I have to go handle the garbage.” Idiotic me said, “Doesn’t the garbage man pick it up?”
Not even close. This kid had to wake up every Saturday and burn his garbage in a giant pit in his backyard. Hilarious? Pretty much.
This kid and his brother were out there piling shit up as I sat back and watched with utter amazement. After a while, they poured a little gas on it to get the fire blazing, then sat there for a few minutes and tried to light it with a regular lighter (which I am sure is the safest way). They couldn’t get it going.
It was then that I thought I would step in. I was only 10 years-old and still labeled the “new kid from Jersey,” so I had to show these kids up. I grabbed the lighter and flicked it once; walked over to the pit and slowly lowered it down. This is the point of the story that involves stupidity to the utmost degree.
I guess there was some invisible gas on this milk carton near this paper I was lighting because the flame went straight for it, and fire just shot out of the opening of the jug right at my thumb. “Fuck!” I said with the vigor of childhood cursing abilities, “I burned my thumb.” My thumb was on fire for an inch of a second before I started shaking it around wildly.
Your Thumb is on Fire (3/2009)
It didn’t hurt at first, like most burns, but it hurt like fuck within an hour. I wanted to cry but couldn’t, me being the new kid and all, so I just held it in. The kid said, “Dude, I think you’re supposed to put butter on your burns.” Who was I to argue? Last I knew, people came to collect your trash. This was a new universe to me. Logic was a thing of the past.
Butter does not fucking feel good on a burn dude. It was on my thumb for a few minutes before it melted, turning my burned thumb into something much greasier. A day or two later, I was in the shower, cleaning up. I tried hard not to get the thumb wet or soapy, but I slipped. The thumb hit the water and an entire layer of skin came right off. Fuck did that hurt. It makes my cornhole pucker up just thinking about the pain.
Some weeks later I asked my mom if I could go rock this kid’s house again for a night. She said, “Well, okay, just stay away from the trash, Garbage Man.”