I learned that no matter how calm my voice, no matter how expressionless my demeanor, no matter how I assure my wife that there's absolutely no reason whatsoever to panic... the phrase "Get me the fire extinguisher" just pushes all that calming stuff right out the window.
We were having some friends over for a BBQ today. They had not yet arrived, and I went outside and started the grill. It's electric (boogie woogie), and all I had to do was plug it in and turn up the temperature setting. No lighter fluid, no flames, just the magic that is a heating element. At least, that's what's supposed to happen. Seems that there was some grease in there that got just a tad bit too hot, and decided to burst into flames. To say that it produced a little smoke would be equivalent to say that the ocean is somewhat damp. The BBQ has a lid which significantly cut down on the amount of oxygen the fire was getting. The only bad thing is that there are holes elsewhere that let enough air get in to keep the fire burning. (Stop singing.) The smoke kept billowing, the fire kept going, so I calmly asked my lovely wife to please remain calm and to get the fire extinguisher for me. "What?!?!?" Please dear, just calmly and sedately obtain the fire extinguisher for me. "Why?!?!? What?!?!? What's wrong?!?!?!" She was in 'action mode', weight shifted to the balls of her feet, ready to leap in whatever direction necessary to confront/flee from the danger, eyes darting, nose testing the air for telltale signs of burned flesh and/or wood.
"Just get the damn fire extinguisher!", says the coughing husband, all calmness gone as smoke blows around him like a friggin' London fog. (Yes, a rain coat.)
Leaping with catlike agility, she grabbed the fire extinguisher, threw it up in the air in a graceful arc, did a forward one-handed handspring into a double somersault ending in a split, caught the fire extinguisher, then handed it to me. I stopped for a moment to applaud her flair for the dramatic, pulled the pin off of the extinguisher, and took off the BBQ lid.
Those of you who are still reading might stop here and say "But Wontar, we all saw that fine Ron Howard movie 'Backdraft', and we know what happens when you suddenly introduce a whole lotta oxygen to a smoky fire!" Yep. A quick burst of flames neatly singed some of the more flammable hairs on my left arm, and also released some nice thick smoke into my face. Yummy!
One quick blast of the fire extinguisher, and it was all over. Well, the fire was out. The smoke lingered for a while.
The hamburgers had a strange taste. Not sure why. No no no... we cooked them in the toaster oven. The BBQ is officially out of service, Deb has calmed down, and I still smell like a briquet. So pretty much back to normal here.