nisus When I was in middle school I had one of those little gel packets that turns white and hot when you bend a metal disk within it. You know, the pocket sized hand warmers for taking when you go snow skiing or do something else in the cold. Anyhow, I have always loved them (though now the sight of them now makes me nervous.) I would take mine and squish the clear gel back and forth and back and forth. Then I would bend the metal disk and watch as the gel hardened and heated. A circle around the disk would form immeadiatly, thicken, and spread out. I loved watching the wavy edge of the reacted gel as it grew and within seconds reached the edges of the rectangular plastic baggie. Once reacted the gel, though hard, was slightly malleable still. After awhile the bag would cool and the substance inside harden completely. To return the gel to its original state, one would boil the bag for a certain amount of time. Well, once, having thoroughly enjoyed the entire process for the third time or so, I set out to boil the warmer. I brought a pot of water up to boil and placed the baggie inside. The phone rang. My best friend at the time began talking to me, and I wandered upstairs as I had some time before the boiling process would be finished. An hour later, having long since ended the phone conversation, I remembered the warmer like an ice hand grasping my heart. I ran out of my room, around the corner, and down a few stairs before I stopped, shocked. The entire ceiling of the ground floor of my house was coated in six inches of smoke. Gripped by a new terror at the apparent insensitivity of our smoke detectors, I ran into the kitchen against the horrible stench emanating from the far wall. I turned off the stove with my face turned to the side and my arm extended as far as possible. Once the smoke died down I risked a glance in the pot, which had shed a layer of copper bottom. A coating of disgusting black tar was all that remained. 030916
nisus it seems so trivial in retrospect, but life itself made me nervous for days 030916
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