Old Man Winter’s gnarly breath has begun to blow its way through Isla Vista. Glance around. While the heaps of cigarette ash outside Storke Library are being swept from their Fall Quarter graves, students shuffling by huddle in hoodies, awakened from their summer slumber. It’s a welcome change from the monotony, but now I find myself wishing I had thanked Prometheus and his glorious gift of fire when a funeral pyre of turkey was piled high on my plate last Thursday.
I can’t imagine life without the flame. Vulcan’s influence on my mental and physical wellbeing is not only tied directly to my habitual inclinations, but also the ability of I.V. Deli Mart to harness fire and produce one mean chicken schwarma. And since many of you devote most of your time to a slowly burning cherry rotating between friends, I believe its time to burn one down in flame’s illustrious honor. While witches at the stake may disagree with me on this point, I’d like to offer a sesh in honor of the Titan who made my habit possible. So, go spark up the Nag Champa and I’ll grab the killer Trainwreck that just rolled into town.
Bear with me if you know your Greek mythology, but Prometheus was the original gangster. Snoop Dogg’s “Gz and Hustlaz” had to have been about him – the only Titan with the balls to steal fire from the gods and allow the Eastside party to begin. I’m telling you: Prometheus was the shit. The dude’s sacrifice to stoners everywhere not only landed him in eternal imprisonment, but some fucking eagle flew by and ate out his regenerating liver everyday single day. While I’m sure this allowed him to out-drink any Isla Vistan, I’m guessing most of his buddies got tired of climbing up a damn mountain in order to include him in the rotation.
With Prometheus tied to a rock all the time, stoners were forced to fend for themselves. If you wanted to light up a spliff you had to rub some sticks together real fast or find your high ass some flint. Good luck trying to light a bong. Thankfully, however, our ancestors weren’t too blazed to invent some nifty contraptions for instantaneous combustion on their own.
While it took a few centuries for us to finally figure it out, the friction match was invented in 1827 by English chemist John Walker and later improved for commercial use in 1844 by Gustaf Erik Pasch. Stoners rejoiced as they could only imagine the match’s endless possibilities. Walker’s creation allowed quick and easy access to another state of mind and helped foster an age of enlightenment for smokers around the globe.
In 1903, Austrian chemist Carl Auer von Welsbach combined iron and cerium, the composition basically found in flint lighters today, which produced a spark after a simple flick from the finger. Tree-hugging stoners danced barefoot through the forests in celebration of their match liberation, but would protest 23 years later when the lighter became commercialized by Louis Aronson.
Aronson’s original 1926 Banjo lighter paved the way for stoner simplicity and allowed for one-handed use – a must for those dedicated to the bong’s cause. With one hand free to grasp your glassware, piece creativity skyrocketed. Glassmakers could now construct any shape or size their clouded minds conjured, knowing that their artistic achievements would not hinder their customers’ toking efforts.
I’m telling you: You wouldn’t appreciate that Teamwork poster on your bedroom wall if it wasn’t for all these guys. And if you think a magnifying glass would work wonders outside in the Santa Barbara sun, the risk of being rolled on by the IVFP might be a little too high this time of year – especially if you flicked your Bic on some scabies-infested couch this summer and they’ve been mugging you and your neighbors from behind aviators ever since.
While Brooks Firestone shits a brick every time a rotting couch ignites in inferno in the middle of DP, I see flaming furniture as an offering to the gods of fire for letting us partake in a blaze’s exquisite qualities. They can try all they want to end our invocations, but fire should be celebrated, not relegated. It’s not like we all burned to ruin when Prometheus first handed us our freedom as a civilization.