Monday, November 6, 2006

Public Service Announcement Regarding Balloons.

You remember balloons, don't you? Those pieces of latex or Mylar, inflated and floating in the air, bring joy to us during our young years. But if you let go, they would float away, never to be seen again, tears streaming down our eyes. Our parents trying to comfort us. As we get older, we realize we can put water in them, and throw them at friends, or complete strangers as they walk down the street. Soaking them, and running away laughing. Then when we reach young adulthood, we realize that the contents of said balloons are merely a transport device for the helium. We suck it on, and our voice becomes silly. We make each other laugh, get dizzy, sometimes even pass out from too much helium. But it is all a good laugh. I used to love balloons. I stopped for a while because the fun of sucking helium had gone away. It wasn't until 2 weekends ago that I found new joy in balloons.
It was Jenny's birthday, and I had driven as fast as my little Civic would take me to Austin, after I finished my final night shift for some time. Upon arriving in Austin, it is customary to be greeted in the driveway with some form of beverage, usually containing alcohol, which is exactly what happened. Jenny stayed up until the alcohol finally made her eyes close and she had to shift off to bed. Matt and I decided this would be prime time to start decorating for her party. Matt found a bag of balloons and brought the out to the grotto, and we started blowing them up. Now not to toot my own horn, but damn did I do a good job. After smoking for 14 years, I am surprised I was able to blow up more than one. Well as the night passed, we continued to blow up balloons, and we continued to drink. I started filling a balloon with smoke, and got it as big as I could, tied it off, placed it on the table, and with the cherry from my ciggie, popped it. The perfectly balloon shaped smoke cloud sat there for a minute, then dissipated. Leaving this nasty odour. So we did it again, blowing up balloons with smoke that we were going to have Jenny pop as some sort of crazy birthday ritual. After popping 6 or 7 of these balloons, we got bored. The enjoyment fading I found Matt's butane bottle, and started to fill up balloons with it. We were as giddy as 2 kids whose parents had just bought them helium filled balloons and tied them to their wrists so they wouldn't float away. We filled about 6, with varying amounts of butane and different mixtures of air. We then created a remote lighting device (a broomstick with a cigar match taped to it) and proceeded to the copse around back. Armed with a video camera, matches, butane filled balloons, alcohol and stupidity, we lit the first match and put it against a balloon. Pop! I look at Matt, "Where fire?" I ask in caveman speak. Matt grunts back at me, with a grunt signalling his amazement too. We then lit the balloon that was pure butane. As the match burned a hole in the side butane rushed out and gave us a little flame. Not the big boom we were expecting. Disappointed, we popped the remaining balloons and went bank inside to clear our minds with more alcohol. What about Zippo fluid, I thought. Now, for those of you who know, Zippo fluid is a great fuel for fire. I have set my hands on fire many times with Zippo fluid (while wearing fireproof gloves) and run up and down the street freaking out the neighbours. So I blew a balloon to the ideal size and started to pour Zippo fluid in the hole. Giggling like a little schoolgirl, imagining the bang. The all of a sudden, Pop! What the???? I grabbed another balloon, blew it up, started to fill, and Pop! Not wanting to be beaten by a stupid piece of rubber, I grabbed a third balloon, blew it up, and poured slower this time. Pop! Then it struck me. I had always heard that you should never use Vaseline as a sexual lubricant while using prophylactic's because, and here's the science, petroleum distillate weakens latex, causing premature failure. Well I resigned to the fact that this plan wouldn't work, and sat back down at the table. Matt came back from inside and suggested pouring gas into a balloon and trying that. Forgetting everything I just learned I agreed and started to film as Matt filled the balloon quite full of gas. Being the responsible drunk that I am, I cautioned him about using to much. But did he listen? No. So he poured half a gallon into the balloon, and proceeded to inflate it. For those of you who don't know, gasoline is a type of petroleum and does not react well with latex. As he blew it up, it popped, sending gas flying all over the driveway. I laughed so hard watching Matt flail around, blinded by gas to his eyes, screaming in agony, still recording. Ok, so maybe he wasn't screaming, but once I realized he was in trouble, I dropped the camera and helped him to the hose to wash out his eyes. Then I started to record again. So the moral of this long story is this: When drinking and blowing up balloons, resist the urge blow up gasoline filled balloons. But if the urge is too great, make sure you're not smoking.