A frequent question asked by many of my followers is: Should I set my pants on fire for Christmas?

Having personally once set my pants on fire, I can’t recommend it for any occasion, Christmas notwithstanding.

I set my pants on fire while burning out a stump full of termites. I poured some gas on the stump and lit her up with no problems. What happened next had a lot to do with my ignorance at the time regarding big, red SOLO cups and gasoline. By that, I mean I had no idea that gasoline would eat through a Solo cup. They are made of plastic after all which is the same material as a gas container.

I was standing near the burning stump when the gasoline ate through the cup. It wasn’t a casual drip, drip, drip kind of leak either. All the gas splooshed out of the Solo cup at once. Most of the gas drenched the front of my pant legs, which was not necessarily a problem. A good bit of the gas reached the flaming stump, which was one hell of a problem.

There was a “whump!” kind of sound followed by a wave of heat that burned my eyes followed by the entire front of my pants being on fire. Only, I didn’t realize my pants were on fire. Not right away. I was preoccupied with my eyes. They were stinging from the blast of heat.

Then I felt the heat on my legs.

Guess who screamed like a girl?

I should point out I lived in a heavily residential area and all this was happening in my front yard, closest to the road.
I tried beating out the flames, but that wasn’t happening.

No choice. I yanked my pants off right there in front of God and everybody.

Neighbors, be damned. When you’re on fire, you do what you got to do.

Not only did I yank my pants off, but I commenced to beating them on the ground trying to put them out. It took several good whacks before I was able to extinguish all the flames, but then I had to use them to slap the flames on the ground out.

I can’t honestly say whether or not anyone saw me. Thankfully, no car came down the road while all that was going on. No neighbor ever mentioned it, but who would?

My son, following in the Old Man’s tradition, managed to set his pants on fire on Christmas day.

Here’s how it happened:

It was Christmas day. All the stores were closed. All the relatives were gone. There wasn’t much to do, so I decided to do a few thing around our farm.
We have chickens – lots of them. They roost in a shed we made for them. We spread hay on the floor of the shed which they poop on. When we need to clean the shed, we use a pitchfork to scoop up the poop-laden hay.

Not too far outside the shed is a fire ring. A fire ring, for those of you who don’t know, is basically a big, metal ring (say two feet tall by four feet wide) used to burn brush and such. You put the ring on the ground, you put stuff in the ring, you set the stuff on fire and the ring keeps the fire from spreading everywhere.

I loaded up the ring with the hay from the chicken shed. Problem was, a lot of the hay was damp so it wouldn’t burn. What it did was smolder.

After about fifteen minutes of watching a long line of thick, whitish-grey smoke plume out of the fire ring, my son, Matt, decided to help things along. He went to his river boat and fetched the plastic gas canister he uses for a gas tank. At about the same time he arrived with the gas, our neighbors across the way and their relatives came out of their house to say goodbye. Matt sloshed some gas on the hay intending to set it on fire with a match. Problem was, and what he didn’t realize, is there was already a flame burning somewhere in the burn ring. The old adage: “Where there’s smoke there’s fire” came into play. Another problem was, some of the gas got on his pants.

WHOOSH! Flames burst out in the fire pit, around the fire pit and up Matt’s pant legs.

All the neighbors, to the man, apparently heard the whoosh or saw the flame burst. They all turned their heads our way.

Matt hollered several bad words all the while yanking on his pants. To his credit, he didn’t even bother to try to beat out the flames with his hands like I did. He went straight from immolation to pants yanking.

Problem was, he yanked his boxer shorts, too.

Next thing I know, my boy is hopping around on Christmas day flashing the neighbors.

He finally wrenched up his boxers, but not before his mother and I and the neighbors got an eye full.

Between us, we eventually stomped his pants out.

We used a fire extinguisher from our boat to put the fire in the yard out.

I threated to kill him if he ever did that again.

He said of the neighbors, “Maybe we should sing them ‘We Wish You a Merry Christmas” before we go in.

Fa La La La La