Why Firestarter Was the Scariest Movie of My Childhood... I've Never Trusted Drew Barrymore Since

I think my brother is a pyromaniac.  Of course, I’m basing this on three separate incidents from childhood and have no recent occurrences to back up the claim, but I’m sure it’s true anyway.

The first related memory I have of this is standing in our kitchen with my brother sitting at the table playing with our mom’s cigarette lighter.  I was very small and the memory has faded, but I do know that it ended with my bangs significantly shorter, the smell of burnt hair in the air, and Big Bro saying, “Don’t tell Mom.”

The other incidents are clearer in my mind.  The first was at Christmas and we were decorating the tree.  This was the seventies, so we didn’t have pre-lit trees and anyway, we were still using real trees.  Maybe someday God will start making pre-lit real trees, but in those days, we had to string the lights on the tree ourselves.  Now that I’m writing this, I’m beginning to realize that it’s a wonder that house is still standing... But I digress.  Now, everyone knows you need to test the lights before putting them on the tree.  But not everyone (at least not Big Bro) knew that you need to test them somewhere other than on top of the highly flammable tree skirt.  Then again, if he is a pyromaniac, maybe it was all part of his evil plan???

Long story short, one of the bulbs blew when he plugged them in and it immediately caught the tree skirt on fire.  Dad was in the den, Mom was in the kitchen, and Big Bro and I were frantically stomping in the living room as quietly as possible, giggling as if setting our house on fire was actually funny.  I seem to recall another sibling in the dining room who probably witnessed the event.  If so, would you please step forward and confirm this?  You can remain anonymous (there are nine of us kids, so remaining anonymous in our family is actually plausible).

These two events seemed to me to be completely unrelated until I suddenly remembered The School Project.  Being several years younger than Big Bro, I don’t recall what class this project was for, or if it even was a legitimate project or just an excuse to do random dangerously stupid stuff and catch it all on film.  I know that this is a daily occurrence for teenagers today but back then, there were no cell phones and the average family didn’t own a video camera.  So most of the dangerously stupid things teenagers did could only be recorded in our memories, not on film.  But I remember Big Bro and his friends, one of whom had a camera, putting together some sort of film that I never saw but got to witness parts of it in action.  And what I witnessed was them setting one of our old outbuildings on fire and then putting it out with snow.  I vaguely remember those old sheds.  They weren’t really buildings, but some sort of giant storage crates that Dad turned into little rabbit hotels.  Lots of chicken wire cages filled with bunnies that I used to let out when no one was looking because I felt they needed to run free.  Well, the bunnies were gone by this time and the sheds were just sitting there slowing falling into ruin.  So they burned one down.  I don’t even know if they had permission to do it.  I’m gonna give them the benefit of the doubt on that part.

And there you have it; case closed.  Big Bro was a pyromaniac in his youth.  He now lives in a lovely home with his lovely wife and hasn’t burned it down yet, so I guess he got better.  Or maybe he just got smarter about what he sets ablaze...

P.S. If you know my brother and have any other related incidents, please let me know... maybe it’s not too late for an intervention!

P.P.S. Still working on getting the html fixed for my comments section but with being a holiday weekend, it’s slow going... but don’t let that deter you from leaving your comments!  I’m still getting them, even if they don’t show up on the blog right now.  Happy New Year!