boojum42 (boojum42) wrote,

Seven things meme: fire

This is part of the seven things meme, in which sandmantv has asked me to comment on:
1. Keeping kosher and the various rules you follow for high holy days. It's cultural effects, why you do it, etc.
2. Fire.
3. Standards of beauty.
4. Privacy.
5. Christmas.
6. Are videogames art?
(7. What's your summary of the plot and lore of Warcraft so far.)

Today I tackle #2: fire.

I've always been more shy around fire than other people. I did a foreign exchange program in France one summer, and my host family had a gas stove where you had to use matches, and they asked me if all Americans were as inept with matches as I was. (They were a little friendlier than that, in the phrasing.) But the answer was, no. I get unnerved when people play with candle wax, and in the Coming of the Hour I'm always relieved when my candle blows out (as it inevitably does). The other day the ends of cimartin's hair got into a candle flame, and she put it out quickly and was stone-cold calm about it (she was fine) but I was pretty freaked out. When I hear stories about people burning lint off socks _while they are wearing them_ (*cough* animangel *cough*), I start to wonder how my fellow humans and I have managed to develop such different instincts about things. I guess if it were up to me we would never have developed cooking or sterilization or anything, and life would be a lot poorer as a result, so I should be glad it's not all up to me.
ophblekuwufu GMed a superlative RPG in which arson was a major recurring theme, leading me to adopt, in and out of game, a Strict Anti-Fire Policy (really more of a strict anti-fire _wish_, as the arson kept occurring). When midnight_sidhe posted that nobody is sufficiently grateful for not being on fire, I pointed out myself as an exception.
In spite of all of this, or maybe because of it, I seem to have some kind of fixation with setting things on fire in (most) fictional contexts. Setting enemies on fire in video games provides a visceral satisfaction perhaps even greater than hitting them with an axe, although I suppose video game fire has the very odd property of not spreading to the surrounding objects, or for that matter to the surrounding characters-- so I get all the destructiveness of the fire with none of the personal risk, not even risk to my video-game avatar. Similarly, in animangel's Avatar larp I asked to be a fire-bender and was-- but there, again, I magically managed not to set _myself_ or any of the scenery on fire; and even when I dueled with other characters I didn't do them any _lasting_ damage. So I guess the moral is, I like fire when it magically isn't dangerous. I guess it gives me a vicarious feeling of control and badassness?
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