(1967, Pennsylvania) I was 9 years old. Fireworks were illegal in our
state, but you could buy rolls of caps. A "friend" showed me how to make a
decent firecracker out of them. Take a straight pin and load the caps onto
it by pushing the point through the center of each powder-loaded circle,
folding the paper accordion-style. Fill the pin about half-full, then pull
the caps off while keeping them as tight together as you can. Wrap the wad
in a tissue, twist one end to make a wick, and light the wick for a nice
little bang from your homemade firecracker.
Kids all know that bigger is better. I figured I would use a large pin to
make a large firecracker. There was a hat pin in Mom's sewing box
and I started loading that colossal pin with a roll of caps. There is no
telling how long I worked on that firecracker. I probably had two inches
of caps stacked up by the time I was ready to pull them off and wrap the
wad in tissue.
I gave the wad a tug, but it wasn't sliding off the pin. I tried harder,
still no luck. The head of the pin didn't give me much to hold on to, so I
put the pin between my teeth and gave a big tug...
That stack of caps exploded with the sound of a shotgun shell. I was
standing there with black powder all over my face when my folks and
brothers ran into the room. Although my ears were ringing and my lips were
tingling, I was required to explain what I had done. Once they stopped
laughing, my folks checked to be sure all my parts were still intact.
Fortunately, they were.
Darwin says, "If you like this, see Caps'n'Hammer Kid."
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Reference: Ross Pavlik, Pesonal Account