Stop, Drop & Roll

Yesterday, I blogged about some of my new writing projects (a contemporary baseball romance and a Regency romance), and shared Burn Story #1: The Incredible Hulk Burn. Today, I have another memorable burn story to share with you, but first, I'd like to present some statistics so we can all be in the right frame of mind for my tale.

  • Odds of being struck by lightning in your life-time: 1 in 3,000*
  • Odds of becoming President of the United States: 1 in 10,000,000*
  • Odds of winning the Powerball jackpot: 1 in 175,000,000*
  • Odds of being badly burned by a rogue popcorn kernel: 1 in 1,000,000,000 (<-I made this up, but it has to be somewhere around there)

And now, I share with you another memorable burn story.

Burn Story #2: The Unfortunate Popcorn Kernel Incident of 2010

It was a Tuesday night in September. I was ready to settle in to watch NCIS, and what better to go with my favorite Naval team of investigators than a nice bowl of fresh-popped popcorn? Exactly.

So, I pulled out my trusty electric popcorn popper--an old model that once belonged to my grandmother, and got to work.



The batch started out like any other. I got a bowl. I poured in the kernels. I flipped the switch to ON. There was a whirring noise and things started to happen. Popcorn started popping. But I found out the hard way: snacks can be dangerous.

And then, in the midst of puffy, white clouds, a rogue kernel took flight. It flew out of the popper, bounced off the counter, and landed in a very uncomfortable location under my shirt. Ladies (and maybe some men): I think you know the spot I'm talking about. That V where things tend to fall and get stuck.

This kernel was hot! Piping hot! Skin sizzling hot!

I did one heck of a I-have-a-hot-popcorn-kernel-trapped-in-my-bosom dance. I let out a horror-movie yelp. And I got that bugger out of there as fast as I could..but it was too late. The damage was already done.

And let's just say it was bad. Not only is that location tricky to bandage, but for those of you who have ever sunburned your chest, you can probably imagine the discomfort. Especially if you've blistered.

I'll be honest, I stuck with microwave popcorn for a long time after that. But there's just something about fresh popped corn that I love, so I've plugged the popper back in, poured in some kernels, and flipped the switch. But these days,  I make sure to wear high-necked shirts and safety goggles, just in case.**

I can laugh about it now. And maybe you will, too.

*Google search results

**Serious about the shirt. Kidding about the safety goggles, but they probably aren't a bad idea.

Ooooh, burn!

If you're here to read about snarky, witty retorts, than I apologize. I'm not about to write about that kind of burn, though I'll admit there's nothing quite like snappy banter. I'm going to talk about the painful kind of burn that occurs when heat meets skin. I'm currently working on drafting two new stories: one is a contemporary romance involving a baseball player; the other is a Regency romance that includes an unfortunate fire that wounds both the hero and heroine. Lately, my Google search terms have been pretty wide-ranging, and include:

  • issues with batting stance
  • dangerous animals in Britain (there was a man-eating hedgehog!!! Say it ain't so, Sonic!)
  • minor league baseball team front office staff
  • burn treatment in the Regency Era
  • Giggle Noodle Soup (Why, Lipton, why did you stop making this fantastic piece of my childhood?)

Anyhow, back to the subject at hand: burns. I've been doing some reading about burns, burn treatment, and how medicine has advanced over the past 300 years. It's pretty amazing how treatment has gone from dousing the burns with turpentine to doctors being able to use living skin grafts. Go, modern medicine, go!

All this reading about burns got me thinking about some of the more memorable burns I've had over the years. I'm pretty sure everyone who's been around a stove (or at the very least, hot cocoa) has experienced the discomfort of a burn. Mine have ranged from singed hair minor (the worst smell ever) to oopsy-glue gun moderate (yowch) to I probably should have gone to the ER but broke and in grad school major (also a really bad smell). I promise not to get into too much detail here, for those of you who are squeamish, but I thought I'd share two little stories with you.

Burn Story #1: The Incredible Hulk Burn

Grad school. Tiny apartment on the wrong side of town.

There I was, baking chicken parmesan for some friends. I was about to take the casserole dish out of the oven when I was startled by a HUGE bang against the door. Arm met heating coil. Skin sizzled. My dinner guests were right on time.

I didn't have great insurance, and the local hospital wasn't exactly known to be a pillar of excellent healthcare. I was subsisting on Ramen and Easy Mac, and frankly, chicken parm was a splurge. The thought of an unexpected co-pay was enough for me to grind my teeth together, open the door, and pretend I hadn't just branded myself on the oven. It was bad enough that I forced myself not to look until I was sitting down. Retrospectively, I'm pretty proud of the fact that I didn't drop dinner.

I quickly treated the burn with some Aloe Vera gel and a non-stick gauze bandage I had on hand, and ate dinner. No big deal. Until the next day, when I went to redress my burn.

It was bright green. Incredible hulk green. I was morphing into a super hero!

*sound of a record scratching*

Sadly, no super hero abilities for me. Turns out, wounds in the epidermis and dermis soak up color like a sponge! Which is why it's important to buy 100% Aloe Vera gel without added color if you plan on treating an open burn. Unless you want to be part Incredible Hulk.

I now have a 2-inch scar on my forearm, which has started to fade *cough, cough* years later. And enough common sense now to advise anyone who gets a burn that's deep enough to see things that shouldn't ever see the light of day to seek professional treatment.

Tune back in tomorrow for Burn Story #2: The Unfortunate Popcorn Kernel Incident of 2010.