August 24, 2007

Stupid and Funny: A Story

I'm going to take a little schadenfreude break today. Instead? I'm going to tell you a little story...

The other night, Beth and I were watching MythBusters. I have a fascination with that show that I can't quite explain. Of course, I have a fascination with all kinds of things I can't quite explain. Anyway, they were blowing things up in a campfire. I guess it's pretty easy to understand the appeal there. One of the things they blew up? Aerosol cans. I immediately turned to Beth and told her a story.

I've mentioned my one of my close friends from the past here before. His name is Adam. He and I were inseparable for large parts of high school. To say that he had bad judgment is like saying that Stephen Hawking is a little smart. I believe, at some point during his childhood, he'd been partially lobotomized, having the "good judgment" portion of his brain removed whilst enlarging the general spaz portion. But hell, he was fun to be around.

One summer weekend, we decided to go camping. The Potomac River is dotted with little islands. We packed our stuff in a canoe and headed for one of them. Once there, we set up our tent, built an insanely large camp fire and, once the sun had set, broke open the cooler of beer we'd stolen from our parents and made dinner (MREs, bad choice). Several beers and hours later, we decided it would be a cool idea to see what exactly would burn in the campfire. I don't know what we started with but eventually we got around to an aerosol can.

Adam took the can, shoved it into the fire and we ran as far away from the fire as was humanly possible on that tiny island. A minute later there was a boom that sounded like cannon fire followed by the sounds of shrapnel whizzing through the air. When the noise had died down, we approached the campsite. Total destruction. The hot metal shrapnel swiss-cheesed the nearby tent, rendering it totally useless. Our reaction? Uncontrollable laughing.

Deaf from the explosion, Adam and I loudly discussed the next sacrifice. We agreed that the block of magnesium we'd packed to help start a fire would be great. We chucked it in the fire. Now, if you don't know, magnesium is pretty much the brightest substance known to man when it burns. The intensity of the fire grew gradually but, in the end, it looked as if we had a piece of the sun right there on that island.

That was the end of our experimenting. Later that evening, we laid on top of our sleeping bags under the stars - since our tent had been rendered useless - deaf and blind swatting at the mosquitoes that had decided to descend upon the island and us. We searched for the bug spray but it turned out to be a fruitless search. We'd blown it up.

When the story ended, Beth and I discussed it..

Beth: You guys were stupid.
Me: It was funny.
Beth: It was stupid.
Me: It was funny.
Beth: No, really, it was stupid.
Me: Why do those things have to be mutually exclusive?

Posted by Chris at August 24, 2007 7:18 AM

Funny enough, my husband and I watched the exact same episode. And I SWEAR we had the exact same conversation. He spent most of his teenage years camping. I agree with Beth, it was stupid. =)

Posted by: Lauren at August 24, 2007 7:36 AM

If you were my child? Totally stupid. Since you weren't - totally hilarious!

Posted by: Debbie at August 24, 2007 8:02 AM

Great story! My wife does not understand why I watch Mythbusters, she thinks everything they do is stupid.

Posted by: Josh at August 24, 2007 8:18 AM

Wow. Burning magnesium is some bright shit. Literally. We used to use it to set off reactions in high school chemistry. Even the smallest sliver can make you blind if you stare at it for too long. I'm pretty impressed that neither of you ended up with permanent eye damage!

Posted by: Hope at August 24, 2007 8:22 AM

I'm with you, Chris....stupid and funny.

My father-in-law has an annual pig roast for the neighborhood, complete with a large bonfire. The fascination it holds for kids knows no bounds, especially when it comes to them throwing stuff into it. After admonishing one obstinate child a number of times not to throw dangerous items into the fire and/or pull out burning sticks from the center of the pit, my father-in-law had to find the kid's mom and ask her to keep him away from the fire if he couldn't keep from messing with it.

Later that night, some drunk asshat was smoking by the fire and said "Hrm, I wonder what will happen if I throw this butane lighter into the fire?" He proceeded to do so. Turns out he is the dad of previously mentioned kid. Go figure where the kid got his smarts and discipline from.

Posted by: Ross at August 24, 2007 8:26 AM

And you guys were also very lucky!

Posted by: Maribeth at August 24, 2007 8:52 AM

Boys. No, seriously. What is wrong with y'all? If you haven't seen it, I highly recommend the "The Darwin Awards," a dark comedy starring Joseph Fiennes and Winona Ryder. I believe the Mythbusters dudes have a cameo as guys selling military surplus. Very funny movie.

Happy Friday. Try not to blow any shit up today, okay?

Posted by: Fraulein N at August 24, 2007 8:53 AM

okay, first off the story is funny today. However, I question why your parents let you go camping by yourself with the use of a boat and you were still in high school? I have been accused of being over protective so this might be one of those times, but there are just too many scary things that could have happened to you without even considering the stupid boy stunts.

Posted by: linda at August 24, 2007 9:02 AM

What a terrific story! I'm not a schadenfreude fan, particularly, and not really for any good reason, so I was super glad to see a fun story on a Friday.

Funny. Stupid. Priceless.

Posted by: Emily at August 24, 2007 9:07 AM

I'll go along with funny and stupid. What is it with guys and blowing stuff up? John loves to horrify me with stories like that. Of course, I did plenty of my own stupid shit as a teenager, usually involving going off to smoke pot with strangers who luckily did not turn out to be serial killers or rapists.

I like Mythbusters too, but the I wish that one guy would take off the beret every once in a while.

Posted by: bad penguin at August 24, 2007 9:53 AM

My husband has several stories about his teenage years....that makes me wonder how the man ever made it to adulthood. I think it was just pure luck because a couple of the things he did were insanely stupid. :)

Posted by: marsha at August 24, 2007 10:07 AM

Oh man! *laughing* The idea of you and your friend crouching on the other side of a tiny island awaiting a self-inflicted apocolypse just made me snarf my coffee.

Posted by: GreenCanary at August 24, 2007 10:51 AM

You are such a GUY.

Posted by: sue at August 24, 2007 11:21 AM

you are such a *boy*

p.s. cheese in a can? AWESOME in a camp fire

Posted by: Kathryn at August 24, 2007 12:05 PM

Awesome story. Adam reminds me of Bryan's roommate at the beach. If you took too long in the bathroom, he would pour rubbing alcohol under the door and set it on fire.

Posted by: aimee/greeblemonkey at August 24, 2007 12:56 PM

Omigod, ya'll were lucky!

But yeah, that does sound pretty funny.

I have a friend who used to blow up his mother's flower pots.

Posted by: sunchaser at August 24, 2007 1:05 PM

OMG - my boyfriend LOVES Mythbusters (one of the few TV shows he watches) and we saw that episode.

I think I would have laughed at your whole camping incident too. At least Adam was smart enough to run away from the fire!

Posted by: Heather at August 24, 2007 1:21 PM

OMG - my boyfriend LOVES Mythbusters (one of the few TV shows he watches) and we saw that episode.

I think I would have laughed at your whole camping incident too. At least Adam was smart enough to run away from the fire!

Posted by: Heather at August 24, 2007 1:21 PM

OMG - my boyfriend LOVES Mythbusters (one of the few TV shows he watches) and we saw that episode.

I think I would have laughed at your whole camping incident too. At least Adam was smart enough to run away from the fire!

Posted by: Heather at August 24, 2007 1:21 PM

I hate it when the computer fucks up and posts my comment like a gazillion times.

Posted by: Heather at August 24, 2007 1:23 PM

That’s up there with some of the stupid shit we used to do like unrolling enough Black Cat fire crackers to fill toilet paper rolls bound in duct tape. Or having Roman candle fights in empty lots… or better yet, the time I was shooting a steel plate with my .22 rifle only to have one of the bullets ricochet off the plate and then my cheek. Totally fun and stupid… ah, it’s amazing some of us made it out of adolescents. Good story. Especially the part about shredding the tent.

Posted by: Johnny Gun Smoke at August 24, 2007 4:29 PM

I can see it from both points. From the mantastic point of, "Holy Hell that was funny!" but also from the point of view of a wife and mother, in that, had something horribly bad happened, she might not have met the best thing to ever happen to her, Mia and baby-to-be.

However, as I was also a boy once...

Party on Wayne! Great story!


Posted by: JJ at August 24, 2007 5:34 PM

Eh, since no one was injured, it was funny!
Incredibly stupid but damn funny!

Posted by: Nanette at August 24, 2007 8:58 PM

Since you made it out unscathed, it's really funny! It's a boy thing. My husband has a T-shirt that says, It's funny until somebody gets hurt - then it's hilarious! Pretty much sums it up!

Posted by: snakeepoo at August 24, 2007 9:09 PM

Yeah, I'd have to agree with both of you -- stupid AND funny! Hmph, crazy kids! ;)

Posted by: Haley-O at August 24, 2007 9:42 PM

This story is EXACTLY what scares the crap out of me every time Dillon leaves the house.

I think you hit the nail on the head here. In general, young men are stupid. (Remember when he caught his face on fire?)

Fortunately, they are also funny.

...And this is the reason that moms like me don't strangle them more often.

Posted by: Paige at August 25, 2007 10:04 AM

i usually am a strictly a fish reader, i decided to stumble on over. gads, mythbusters. have you ever seen the jaws edition? we have shark week on dvd (a fave in this toddler/pre-school household) you should totally check it out. they blow stuff up and confront the sharkage. funfunfun. i am adding you to my link list, i just can't help it.

Posted by: Mamacit Caliente at August 29, 2007 12:58 AM