The Unforgettable Fire


Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.


The above quote is probably a metaphor or something, which should have occurred to me before I started lighting matches in the classroom.

I had, you see, intended to vividly demonstrate that “igneous” is related to the word “ignite.”

Image result for matchstick


With characteristic attention to safety, I’d had on hand a cup of water in which to douse the burned-out matches. But the thing is, it’s kind of a small classroom, and the matches produced a surprising amount of smoke. I very quickly began to wonder how sensitive the fire alarms and sprinklers were. I flung open the windows and ordered a student to swing the door back and forth.

Mercifully, nothing happened. The last thing I need is people going around wondering if I’m an ignicolist.

You know, a fire worshiper.

Preparing for the lesson, you see, brought me to this most rad page of the the New Shorter Oxford Dictionary:


Igniferous! Ignipotent! Ignis fatuus! How had I been unaware of these words?

My head must be full of igneous, sedimentary, and metamorphic rocks.


PS Speaking of ignipotentates, it was 43 years ago today that the guy on the right met with The All-Powerful Warrior Who, Because of His Endurance and Inflexible Will to Win, Goes from Conquest to Conquest, Leaving Fire in His Wake.

“Le rat-QUOI?”