I've already told you the tale of my putrid lesson that cigarettes are bad, which should have been my lesson learned. Took a couple of those throughout my life but I still smoke once a blue moon. This, however is a shining example of why parents fear leaving their children home alone. The idiotic things that kids do when given idle time and no supervision.
I was in elementary school, somewhere between the ages of eight and ten and my parents had gone out for the evening leaving my siblings and me home. I don't know which of the three of us decided to play with the lighter that night. I wouldn't be surprised if it was my brother because he has always been a big pyro nut.
I did what I always liked to do when we played with the lighter, but I guarantee you that it stopped that very night. I would take notebook paper and roll them up, pretending they were cigarettes. Long, glorious cigarettes. Holding them like a Hollywood starlet striking a pose with a dangling cigarette holder elegantly between sexy fingers. I would light the end of the roll and let it flame slightly. Blow it out and pretend to puff on the enormous stick. I would repeat the act until I was insecure about the length of my cigarette from my face, which was generally farther than nearer. Sometimes, I would make others in the same night.
On this particular night, I don't know what went wrong. Perhaps I didn't blow out the flame. Perhaps the flame re-ignited. Perhaps I just needed a lesson to stop playing with fire before I burned down the house. But I did the stupidest thing, which in comparison to playing with lighters and paper seems only par to the course. I inhaled and brought with the air, a rush of flame. I felt fire at the back of my throat. For only a minute but long enough to scare Jesus into me.
For some odd reason, I recall details that seem extraordinary. I remember the paper cigarette being larger in circumference and not as tightly rolled as before. I remember the smoke being more ominous; maybe that warning not to do it but still ignored. And I remember the fire being like a torch. When I reminisce about burning my throat, I can almost imagine myself being in the tube with the fire surrounding me. Scary events, especially for a child, become larger than life monsters; and even as adults, we remember them as such.
I didn't tell my parents. There was no way in hell that I would risk the beating that would be obligatory for such a mischievous act. Other than a little scratchiness and soreness for maybe a day or two, I don't think I've suffered any long term effects (Incidentally, when I recall the story, my throat always tightens and feels a bit scratchy.) And I never, never, never, never played that game again.