Have you ever read the side of a deodorant can?
The part where it warns you against puncturing the can or exposing it to heat? Well, one boring Sunday afternoon during the boring July school holidays of 1998 my brother, a few friends and I read the side of a can and decided to test the warning.
It seemed like a good idea at the time.
We took the can into the garage, placed it down on the floor and one of my brother’s friends started to light a fire beneath it. This lasted for about 20 minutes. It seemed that the can was quite heat resistant. At this point someone spotted our small boat and decided to use some of its fuel to boost the small fire into a much bigger fire. Fuel was placed upon the can and nothing happened. Hmm. More fuel? Of course! After 5 more minutes of applying fuel nothing was happening, we were bored again and out of matches. “There’s more in the house” I said, and ran to the house to find some more matches. As I was looking around the house I heard a large bang, my eyes widened, I knew exactly what that bang meant. It meant the can wasn’t lying and it was also a much louder bang than expected. Oh shit.
I ran to the garage and stopped at the door, smoke poured out and a light flickered. I saw a figure walking towards me, eyed wide open and jaw dropped, not unlike my own expression. Light fixtures were hanging off the roof, everything had fallen of the shelves and there was a black mark on the floor where the can once lay. There were no remains of the can at all. I asked if everyone was alive and didn’t have any can embedded in their kidneys, they were freaked out, but fine. After 5 minutes of silence we finally realised two things:
- We trashed the garage and the neighbours had probably rung the cops.
- It was nearly 4pm. My mother was due home around 4pm.
We sprung into action. Smoke was cleared out of the garage, mats were placed over the black area on the floor, lighting fixtures were fixed and everything was put back into place. The only thing that could not be corrected was our fear. Thankfully, the neighbours were out, so no police showed up.
We stood in front of the garage doors, finally laughing about the event, when someone noticed that the doors to the garage were not right. Not right, meaning they had come off their railing. Laughter turned into fear, fear into panic and panic into name calling. We tried pushing them back onto the railing, but the doors were too heavy to lift. Just then the Motherships car pulled into the drive way. Act normal everyone.
We stood in front of the doors, trying to look normal, and probably looking like scared little bunnies. My mother noticed something was up, but had household shopping to contend with. We needed a story. We decided to tell her that my brother ‘fell’ onto the doors, it was the best story we could come up with at the time. Amazingly, she bought it. My father on the other hand, didn’t buy it, but due to my parents being freshly divorced it didn’t bother him. He fixed the doors and we spent weeks wondering if they knew what really happened. After a month we rejoiced silently and told all our other friends about it.
A few years went by and one day I decided to tell my father about it for a laugh. He said he knew something was up, but never thought it would be something that ridiculous. I told my mother soon after my father and she laughed about it. Which is strange. If we had told her straight after it happened she would have made us write 500 pages of lines saying “I will never blow up a deodorant can again” (my parents never grounded, the were lines kind of people), but give it a few years and it’s a funny story to tell at Christmas.
We learnt an important lesson on that boring Sunday afternoon: never doubt the warnings on sides of cans, they do not lie, and they really will explode after about 30 minutes of intense heat.