When we’re young we’re forced to learn certain lessons the hard way. It’s not because our parents didn’t try to teach us the easy way, it’s just that we wanted to test the boundaries. Sometimes it’s important for us to allow children to test boundaries. If they aren’t allowed to make certain mistakes, there’s no way they’re able to learn from them.
For example, I’m sure my sister would have listened when Mom told her not to use the curling iron as a microphone. Especially when it’s plugged in.
When I was very young, Dad had a very small French car. In fact, I think it was called a LeCar. I tried to call it the Lee Car because Dad’s name was Lee. But that’s neither here nor there.
The LeCar was awesome. Really, it was a piece of crap. But it had an enormous sunroof, so to a four-year-old, it was awesome. Something else it had, which seems to be an optional feature these days, was a cigarette lighter. It was that old-school kind that you pushed in, then a few seconds later it would pop out all toasty warm. I know cars still have the outlet for a lighter, but the lighter itself just doesn’t seem to be there anymore.
Anyway, my lesson was learned when I was left in the car alone one day. I had listened to my dad tell me dozens of times that the cigarette lighter was not a toy. In fact, it wasn’t even needed, as no one in my family smoked. However, the fact that it was forbidden made it intriguing. I didn’t care that this tiny little thing could burn me when it popped out, I just wanted to see what would happen.
So, left to my own devices, I pushed the lighter in and I waited. A few seconds later, out it popped. I grabbed the heating device and held it in my hot little hand. I turned it over to look at the lighting part of the lighter. It glowed a bright reddish orange, showing me that it meant business.
Don’t worry… four-year-old Aaron didn’t burn himself that day. But he did burn a small hole into the passenger seat of the Lee Car. Panic set in. I knew that I had only minutes before Dad returned to the scene of the crime. How could I possibly replace the upholstery on the passenger seat before he came back? Could I replace the entire seat? What could I do?
So I sat there. I strategically positioned my legs in such a way that I covered up the hole. He would never notice. When we got home, I would just wait until he was out of the car before I moved again. Yeah, that was it. The plan was flawless!The ride home was uneventful. He was none the wiser. And then we got home. I got out before him. Like a fool, I had completely disregarded my earlier plan. And there, in the spot where my legs had been, was a singed circle on the seat, foam rubber peeking out from beneath the fabric. My life was over.
As you can tell, my life did not actually end at that point. But I found out what a true beating could be. I didn’t play with that or any other cigarette lighter again. I was cured of my pyromaniac impulses that fateful day.