Bonfire

Bonfire: (n) a large open-air fire

As the president of my Junior Class in high school, I was constantly being challenged by the adult advisors to be “more active” or come up with creative ideas.Dictionary B

I was perplexed.

After all, I thought I had done quite a bit in succeeding to get the majority of the votes from a bunch of fickle sixteen-year-old classmates.

But the grownup dictators didn’t see it that way. They expected results. One of their favorite words was “initiative.” (To this day, I refuse to use it.)

So during football season I brainstormed and decided that before our homecoming game, we would have a bonfire out near the football field, and cheer, celebrate and do whatever one does in front of such a blaze.

My thought was, “You just burn stuff.”

Well, it became problematic. What were we gonna burn? I had a chemistry book I was willing to donate, but others thought it would be better to take some of the leaves which were freshly fallen, pine needles prevalent in the area, and branches, and pile them up together to ignite the inferno.

But it was difficult to get started.

So since I was the leader of the Junior Class, I suggested gasoline. Before it could be approved by an adult, we doused all of our flammables in the fluid and lit it.

It was three hours before the bonfire was supposed to take place, and basically we burned up all of our stuff in about twenty minutes. What we had left might be referred to as a bon-ash.

Realizing this would not have much appeal, we scurried around town to find more stuff to put on the second fire and finally accumulated enough trash that when the student body arrived, we lit it once again (this time without gasoline) and everybody gathered around.

Well, considering this was Ohio in September, it was a little chilly. People were already in coats. So when a hundred folks gathered around a blazing fire in their coats, the sweat began to flow, and what was intended to be a pleasurable or intriguing experience turned into a journey to the sauna of hell.

Everybody started to complain, backing away from the fire. Some girls were crying, and all the adults turned to me, seeking my leadership on what to do next.

I shall always remember the experience as a perfect example of over-reaching.

I can truthfully tell you, it was nothing more than the bonfire of my vanity.

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