While I was starting to read Harry Potter and Philosopher’s Stone yesterday I remembered something funny, though at the time it was terrifying: I remembered how Harry Potter made me nearly set my house on fire. Looking back, it is a hilarious childhood moment, but believe me, at the time I was terrified. My parents don’t even remember this, I think they blocked out the memory. It was an utterly stupid moment. I can’t stop laughing now even as I try to write this.
So picture this a mini-Claire. I was 11, chubby, didn’t have many friends but I had books and that was OK, that’s all I needed in life. I was living in Barbados and Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone had just come out and my excellent father bought a copy and had mailed it all the way to Barbados! Imagine the shipping costs! Imagine the anxious little bugger I was.
I finally got the copy around 8PM, when my mother came home, and I was mad because I had asked her to stay up an hour past my bed time (yes, at 11 I had a bed time of 8PM. I shudder at the memory) to start the book but she wouldn’t let me. She claimed something about school and my being a grumpy little kid when I didn’t get my allotted 10 hours of sleep. Pah to her logic, I said!
So I proceed to do what any 11-year-old would have done. Well, I’d like to think any 11-year-old would have done this, really. I closed my door as much as possible without it being completely shut (Shut doors were not allowed) and I climbed up onto my too-tall bed (I was dead short, I still am) and I proceed to turn my lamp on. This lamp, was a brilliant lamp. May it rest in peace. It shone bright, way too bright and it produced a good heat in the winter and just made things too hot in the summer. So I gathered up my thin blanket, turn on the lamp and proceeded to stuff it into the lamp. This lamp was also old-fashioned and looked like a light bulb in a rather large bowl. It was right next to my sink (We lived in a British style house so all the rooms had sinks in them, I only ever used mine once and you’ll find out why).
I packed that blanket into that lamp so well! It gave out just enough light to help me read the book but not enough that my mother, down the hall, would suspect my minxy-genius plan. I was so happy! I was a genius! I beat the system, hurrah!
About 100 pages in I started to smell smoke. That was fine and not unusual as I lived next to a bunch of bush that had fires in the summer. Whatever. Then I smelled a lot of smoke, and I couldn’t understand why I was so damn hot. I mean, it was April so it was very hot but not so hot that I should be sweating buckets. So I looked out the window, and everything was nice and black. It was inky, really. After another 50 pages I realised that the light I was using to read was flickering and I looked up.
My bloody blanket was on fire.
So I did what every normal 11-year-old would do, I freaked the hell out. I grabbed the blanket (the fire was located in the center of the lamp) from the sides, ripped it out of the lamp and then did something, that I realise now was utterly stupid: I threw it on the bed. So what happened? My sheets, pillow and mattress started to smolder. The fire wasn’t catching thank goodness but I could cleaaarly smell plastic and cotton burning.
So I then prove my genius in another way: I grabbed the smallest cup I could find and started to fill it up in the sink next to my bed and throw it on my bed, blanket and book. Why’d I grab the smallest cup? Don’t ask me why. There was a bucket right under the sink and somehow, I missed it. After about another 15 minutes of panicking, gasping and running around crying the fire was out. It was still smoldering in a way, but it was out.
Then, I ripped off my sheets, the blanket, everything, stuff it in the kitchen garbage (And people called me smart, you know, well they did before this lol) and I grabbed a quilt and threw it on my bed. Turned off the lamp and went to bed.
My deception was discovered in the morning, as I woke up to find my mother standing quite calmly at the end of my bed with the blankets I had stuffed in the garbage the day before, as well as what was now, a definitely melted lamp.
I didn’t get punished for it but my mother made me sleep on the holey-mattress till we left the country. I got new sheets and a new blanket, and my dad sent me another copy of Harry Potter. I was lucky, I should have been in a lot of trouble, but thankfully my mother and father seemed to understand my attempt at rebellion.
I share the story from time to time, when I get tipsy enough. I go red, I get embarrassed but I laugh because who else can say they have a Harry Potter story like I do?
I know we’ve all done some cooky stuff, but there has to be someone out there that has done something as foolish as this. Come on. Share. You know you want to!
Other Harry Potter posts here: