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Friday, February 05, 2010

Burnt Fingers 

Long ago I read a book about a French-Canadian girl who was a servant in a pioneer home in Maine. In the story, all the busy body old crones in the vicinity advise a young mother of a little baby girl to take a red hot coal from the fire, show it to the baby and then press it into her baby’s hand so she would learn to fear the fire and always steer clear of it. The tenderhearted mother can’t bear to do this to her baby, the darling of the family, and sure enough the baby’s clothes catch fire after she reaches into the hearth to touch one of the pretty red coals. She dies a horrible death of full body burns.

This story made quite an impression on me and I’ve been wanting to decommission our fireplace ever since the babies achieved mobility. This solution works particularly well since it provides more space for our book hoarding, a problem that has reached levels worthy of a DSM IV entry and is most likely causing structural damage to our building. Note the plastic cover affixed with Velcro dots, which should prevent any pint sized Collyer brother type tragedy.

Comments:
Were the Collyer's crushed under piles of their own books and newspapers?
 
http://www.barrypopik.com/index.php/new_york_city/entry/collyer_brothers_hermits/

The house was labyrinthine, with tiny passages between towers of stacked books, boxes, papers, periodically rigged with wire and bucket booby traps.

Ah, those booby traps.

it was on April 8 that they finally found Langley, dead about a month, decomposing under a crushing stack of newspapers, apparently a trap gone wrong. He lay about 10 feet from where his brother, left without his caretaker, had died.
 
Look well, ye wolves: before you know it they'll be ripping that plastic barrier right out of its moorings and you'll be forced to build high shelves!
 
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