Once upon a time, my mom allowed me to have candles in my room. Now she doesn’t, and I can’t blame her, and the following story is also a really good argument for Fairfield’s anti-candle policy.

I was sitting on the floor of my room playing “Sims 3” for the sixth hour straight. Next to me, an autumn candle burned. After six hours, meddling with the lives of pixel people stops consuming all of your mind-space, so I thought to myself: “Hey, maybe I should stick this pencil in the flame.”

That wasn’t very fun, so I went back to trying to fulfill my Sim’s lifetime wish of becoming the president of Sim-land. (Is the Sims a democracy when all you need to become president is a lot of charisma? That sounds kind of dystopian?) There isn’t really any justification for where this story is going beyond ‘fourteen year olds are pretty dumb.’ Anyways, the short version is: I stuck a tissue in the flame.

Then I realized that there was a TISSUE ON FIRE IN MY HAND, so I tossed it into the wastebasket under the assumption that it would go out.

What I didn’t realize — because fourteen year olds are pretty dumb and my common sense explains a lot about why I failed the driving test — is that my wastebasket was a) full of paper and b) wicker. The paper part caught, but I thought that was fine because it would just burn quickly and extinguish. Then the wicker part caught alight.

I grabbed my wastebasket by the not-on-fire part and moved it away from under my desk. I tossed a cup of water onto it, which really didn’t do much, because it was only half full and also HALF OF MY WASTEBASKET WAS ON FIRE.

The smoke alarms went off and I walked into the hallway. “MOM,” I shouted, “THE SMOKE ALARMS ARE GOING OFF.”

Our smoke alarms used to go off almost every time someone used the stove, so she didn’t take this very seriously.

“MOM,” I shouted again, a moment later, “MY WASTEBASKET IS ON FIRE.”

That one got a reaction. Several glasses of water later, the fire was out and my wastebasket was thoroughly destroyed, with roughly ¾ of it burnt to a crisp. We put it on the porch and my parents no longer trust me with candles.

Anyways, my wastebasket at home is metal now.

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