(PART ONE OF “LIVING THE DREAM TRILOGY”)
(And no, my dream did not involve Anne Hathaway)
((At least not the dream I am about to share.))
I think blowing a chance to fulfill a dream makes one wish they could actually kick themself.
In 1987 I worked in a fishbowl. A car dealership in town had a small gas bar on the side and it was in that tiny glass-walled building I work for just over a year. During the overnight shifts, when business had died for the night and girls had stop driving in with three pennies in hand, asking how much gas they could get for this. I would find myself sitting there, all by myself, alone. My eyes would often come to rest on the large red fire extinguisher in the corner, and I would desire to do something I never ever did before in my entire life.
A decade earlier, in grade seven, I wrote a story of a private investigator who escapes from the clutches of a psychotic world-conqueror with the use of a fire extinguisher. Years later, as I reread that story, I had to confront a nagging weakness in my plot. How do I know it would have work? I had never used a fire extinguisher before nor had I ever been in the presence of one in use. I just assumed that a fire extinguisher would work in a manner that I wrote about, but I had no proof.
In the years since grade seven I still had never used a fire extinguisher. I could never pass one in a hallway without desiring to squeeze that tempting handle. I had to know if the use of the fire extinguisher in my story was plausible. That desire for knowlege filled me with the near irresistible urge to spray the fish bowl’s fire extinguisher all over the parking lot.
Many a lonely night, working the graveyard shift, I would pretend. I’d take the extinguisher from the corner, grasped the handle firmly in my hand and tighten. Unfortunately, my longing desire was prevented from being fulfilled because of a two inch safety pin wired into the nozzle that could only be removed by breaking the lead seal. My conscience would never permit me to break that seal without an actual emergency. Emergencies never happened, so I dreamt on.
That spring and while putting oil in a truck, 10W30 spilled down on the manifold and caught fire. Just what I needed, an emergency! As the blaze flared up, I was face to face with my first emergency! This flame could lead to the truck exploding. The truck exploding could lead to the gas pumps igniting. The gas pump igniting could lead to Grand Falls being left a huge smoking crator. The flame grew, the fire extinguisher was just 15 feet away and it was up to me to stop this blazing inferno. Thinking quickly, I reacted courageously, forgot about the fire extinguisher completely and started blowing on the flames with all my might hoping to put the fire out.
Don’t laugh. It worked.
After the threat had be neutralized- the owner of the truck completely unaware of what just transpired- I realized it had been the perfect opportunity to- completly guilt free- break the seal, pull the pin and use the fire extinguisher in a true emergency and I literally blew it.
I could just kick myself.
I vowed I would be ready for the next emergency (or so I thought).