A Defense, of Sorts, for Me Setting Your House on Fire

House Fire

Of all the dismaying details from yesterday when I set your house on fire, none are more disturbing than this: you still can’t get over it.

Come on. You’re acting like it happened yesterday, and it did happen yesterday, but that was almost 24 hours ago. News moves fast in 2017!

We were eating dinner at your place and I said, “Hey, I bet I could light your whole house on fire with this one Cozy Sweater-scented Yankee candle.” You said I was crazy and I should see a therapist. I’m not gonna back away from a challenge like that. What kind of chump do you think I am? You put the candle in my hands and said, “Go for it!”

Okay. You didn’t actually put the candle in my hands. But you did light the candle and leave it on a table in the hallway, where you knew I would see it! And that scent. Cozy Sweater. You know it’s my trigger. You know I grew up in a heap of old sweaters, and to this day the smell of them drives me into an uncontrollable rage. It’s funny, maybe if you had been more sensitive to my feelings I wouldn’t have set your house on fire. But now we both know just how destructive cozy sweaters can be, and that’s what really matters.

I hate to say it, but you’re an enabler. The world is full of enablers – the person who invented the Cozy Sweater candle, the person who sold you the Cozy Sweater candle, even the sweater I called Dad for fourteen years – but you’re an enabler living right in my neighborhood. I can’t let you off the hook. If enablers are ever going to learn, they all need to be blamed for the fire I started at your house. Only after every single person and thing except myself is blamed will you forget it was me who set your house on fire and just get over it.

To start, there’s your house. I don’t know if it’s the paint color or the wraparound porch, but something about it just screams, “Torch me baby!” Then there’s your insurance company, which sold you protection against this very scenario. They bet you your house would be burned down by a scented candle, and you bet it wouldn’t. If we hadn’t destroyed your house completely, the insurance company would have won! Thank God it didn’t. Game the system or the system games you.

Finally, there’s society. Always telling people NOT to play with fire even though it knows everyone LOVES to play with fire. Fetishizing pyromania isn’t going to prevent house fires. In fact, scientists have proven there is no way to prevent a house fire. And now, right after I set your house on fire, is certainly not the time to talk about fire prevention. It’s a bit premature for prevention, don’t you think? There aren’t even any new fires to put out. Not since the one that burned your house down.

If you really didn’t want me to set your house on fire, you should have said something. Somewhere between me walking over to your drapes and me lighting the shit out of your drapes, you could have stepped in and said, “No.” Instead, you just asked me what I was doing. And by the time I told you I was setting your house on fire, it was too late. The flames had already spread to your library and that really great Pakistani rug. It may be a pile of ash now but it’ll always be a great rug.

A wise man once said, “Hyenas cannot help their own nature. The work of society is to infantilize hyenas as cartoon characters so no one grows up to discriminate them. If a hyena wants to eat somebody, they should be allowed to, as long as that hyena says it thinks eating people is wrong.”

In case you couldn’t tell, I’m the hyena in this parable. Society is the society, and you’re the person discriminating against hyenas. Since I couldn’t eat you, the only way to teach you not to discriminate was to set your house on fire. Sad but true.

Perhaps, instead of redundantly asking me why I would follow through on our bet to set your house on fire, and whether I feel any remorse – I don’t know how to – it would be smarter to ask why things are so flammable in the first place. If the world didn’t want to be set on fire, why did it invent land? It could have stopped at water. One big ocean! No fires!

If after reading this you still want to throw shade at me, go for it. Throw your shade. I’ll outshine it like the flames that crumbled all of your possessions into a drifting cloud of smoke. Your shade can’t change mankind’s instinct to set your house on fire, and it certainly isn’t going to get your house back. The only hope is that now you know your house can be burned down with a single Yankee candle. If you don’t want someone to set your house on fire again, you just have to control your urge to buy Cozy Sweater-scented candles. But that’s your choice.



Nic Dobija-Nootens

Author: Nic Dobija-Nootens

Nic Dobija-Nootens is a writer and editor for Jenkem Magazine, the only skateboard news and culture website that matters. Nic once took a writing workshop and discovered he has a bad habit for writing incest jokes, so he's working on that. When he doesn’t feel like writing, Nic draws cartoons and takes nothing seriously whatsoever. Online he’s known as @noochens. Send him a message and let him know when he offended you.

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