No, not that kind of firestarter.
No not that one either. Though maybe a bit closer to the truth than the former firestarter.
There are events or people that remind me of times gone by. Old times, maybe not good times, maybe angst encumbered teen times? I am not a fire bug. I have a healthy respect for fire and I don't wanna go burning down California. I hear you end up in deep doody for lighting fires for shits 'n' giggles 'round these parts. Plus I love trees!
Back when I was an angry, hateful, depressed teen, I smoked. It wasn't to be one of the cool kids. It wasn't to piss off mom and dad. It was for lack of something better to do. So tools of the trade dictated matches or a lighter, no? I mean, I dunno but I have yet to see someone light their fag by rubbing two sticks together.
Anyhow I am sure I mentioned that I was in a special class, for special children which helped to exacerbate my square-self image among the round holes. High school for me was 10 miles away from home so I had to ride the bus to school. However since I had to be transported to high school number two, where the special class, for special kids was located, I pretty much got first pick of the bus seats on the way home. And I always chose to sit in the far back corner. No, not to be part of the cool crowd. Fact was I couldn't really stand the wanna be gangster idiots that sat back there. But I really hated (still kinda do) people sitting behind me. Trust issues? Paranoia? Whatever. I don't feel comfortable with people sitting behind me.
Bus rides consisted of tuning out with my trusty sidekick, Diskman, and zoning out watching the fields go by. They didn't have anything I wanted to hear and I had nothing I wanted to say to them. But one day one of these wanna be's starts talking at me. I had my ears on, I didn't hear anything he said, or so I let him believe. He then starts verbally abusing me because I was in "his seat". I am not Rosa Parks or anything but as I saw it; first come, first served. Seats were not assigned or reserved and I wasn't moving on account of some guy trying to flex his whatever he was trying to flex. I could hear him loud and clear but I sat there blinking blindly pretending not to hear the multitude of insults. He finally sat down but by this point my blank stare was not one of absentmindedness. Some how in the slew of profanity something must have struck a chord; the body language, the volume, the blind hate, I don't know what. But I was boiled over stunned with rage.
Almost as fast as he sat down in defeat I found myself flicking my lighter in my pocket. And before I knew it I had had another Louis moment. I had reached up and lit the back of his hair with my lighter. I guess it was a good thing he wasn't an Aquanet Queen that had pushed me to my boiling point; we all know what happened to Michael Jackson's hair. I didn't really hurt him as much as warmed him up while simultaneously scaring the bejesus out of him. Next thing I know I am getting pulled off of the regular ed bus and piled into a special ed bus (yes, the short bus). After that I wasn't allowed to ride home with the kids I had grown up with that some how all decided to turn into idiot gangster lemmings the moment junior high started. I still can't wrap my head around how that all happened. The gangster lemmings, not the firestarting.... I KNOW how that happened: poor impulse control and some anger management problems. I eventually ended up burning my bridges with the special ed bus too; no pun intended. And it was not fire related, that's another story for another time.
That was the first time. But the second time, which was also the last time I took fire to someone I gave fair warning. In the special class I was in, there was this guy Jimmy. Rumor had it that he had inappropriately touched some of his younger adopted siblings. And if I recall he was 18 or close to 18 when I was in the class at 15. I steered clear of the guy based on the rumors and how disgustingly dirty he was. Like caked on, weeks worth of dirt and he smelled bad. The people that ran our class would encourage him to bathe and would give him deodorant. It was that bad. He had no concept of personal space and was an all around nuisance. He would sit next to the girls and try to talk to them while they all would recoil and tell him to go away.
I guess it was Pick On Susie Day because I had moved more than once to get away from his stench. I had told the teacher that he was bothering me; more than once. I was annoyed and quickly started to loose my temper when the instructors did not help rid me of Jimmy. So finally I gave Jimmy the warning to leave me alone or he would be sorry. He must have found my threat amusing because then he started touching me. "He's touching me! Tell him to stop touching me! I am going to hurt him!" To my surprise I think the teacher was waiting to see how I would handle this on my own because he just sat there busy at his desk. I walked up to the desk, snatched a bottle of foam hand sanitizer, the kind with alcohol in it and proceeded to spray Jimmy with it.
He thought it was funny until I lit the foam on fire. I don't recall how the class reacted or the teacher but I do remember the 'whoooshing' sound of Jimmy waving his hands on fire. Instead of just patting the fire out on his shirt or pants he waved his hands around in the air! Why? I dunno about other places but where we grew up we were taught: stop, drop and roll; along with the duck and cover safety talk. I'm not saying he should have dropped to the ground and rolled around like a pig in a pen. Though he smelled the part it would have been fitting, he could have at least patted the fire out instead of panicking. He wasn't hurt... well aside from losing some hair on his knuckles and forearms but I was the bad guy in all of this.
I was in deep doody, but I had mom on my side. I told my mom specifically that I asked for help from the instructor. I asked Jimmy not to bother me and not to touch me. My requests went unanswered and I kinda impulsively lit him on fire. I was provoked! And I also, once again, was removed. It wasn't entirely my fault. I found it unfair that Jimmy did not get removed because he was the one that was infringing on others personal space. Had he left me to my school work he would have not been lit on fire and I would not have been in trouble talking to the psychologist. I was and am not a fire bug; it was determined by the shrink. Maybe a bit dangerous around a campfire, roasting marshmallows while intoxicated but that's a story for another time too. A very sticky story but no forest fires involved.
Why am I sharing all of this now? Because I pretty much had forgotten about it until I went to Boonie Thai with the guys for lunch. I saw the dishwasher come out to remove a bus tray to the kitchen and it was Jimmy! God he looked miserable, he didn't appear dirty but being around a commercial kitchen sink will keep your hands clean I suppose. I don't know if he recognized me or not but I have a keen ability to place a face and recall it no matter the time span. After high school I heard his adoptive father had died, Jimmy was suspected (not sure if convicted) of arson, he supposedly burned down his family's home and he had done a stint behind bars. He looked miserable but for some reason I couldn't muster any feelings of pity and I did not feel guilty for what I had done to him almost 20 years ago. I later mind wandered and thought to myself how many times he had infringed upon the personal space of others before and after I lit him on fire. To what degree? Were those rumors true? Who knows.
I do know that I am happy I don't smoke, carry would-be weapons and have some what of a stop light in my brain now. It's more like a yellow light and it allows me to slow down just enough to keep from really fucking things up for the most part. I really wish I had a fully functioning stop light up in that brain of mine. It would save me from so many heart aches, stomach aches and head aches. Maybe as time goes on the yellow light can develop a red light. Stupid brains!