In Dorothy Allison's Bastard Out of Carolina, there's a scene where a character burns to a crisp because she adds lighter fluid to a burning charcoal fire and the flame travels up the stream of fluid and into the can, where it gets all explodey. At least I think that's the book this scene is in; it's either that or Little Women. I always thought this scene was a little bit over-the-top and unbelievable, myself, but didn't really have the energy to fact-check. I'm not The New Yorker.
Until! This one time? At band camp? No, wait; wrong How To. Anyway, once I had a charcoal fire started and it was not doing well, just sort of smoking and not firing up in any sort of possible meat-charring way. Now reader, I will say that I had had two or seven glasses of wine, delicious Stone Creek merlot. That's how long ago this scene took place: so long ago that a person could still drink merlot and not be hooted and hollered at. Surprisingly, through a drunken haze, I remembered that fateful scene from the aforementioned book and knew not to just squirt more fluid on the fire. So I very logically poured it into a styrofoam cup and then threw that directly onto the smoldering briquettes. WELL! All the smoke ignited instantly into a giant ball of flame that engulfed me for one millisecond. And then it disappeared and this is the first time I've ever told anyone this story, I think, probably because it's embarrassing. But not as embarrassing as when my mother borrowed her parents' brand new car and lit up a cigarette (which she was not supposed to be doing anyway, needless to say) and flicked the ashes out the window and they blew back in the rear window and caught the backseat on fire and she was just driving around with flames pouring out of the windows. But I'll save that one for another episode...one that I suspect will be called How to Get In Trouble By Spilling Your Mother's Shameful Secrets to the Entire World.