Tales From A Hungry Life

November 6, 2013

I’m On Fire

by Maria Schulz

When you read the news these days, you can’t help but notice some really odd stories floating around out there. For instance, there’s the story of the 33-year-old man who spent over $100,000.00 so he could look like Justin Beiber (now that’s money well spent) or the story of how Robin Thicke compares himself and his wife to John Lennon and Yoko Ono.



To paraphrase Lloyd Bentsen when he debated Dan Qualye a.k.a. “Mr. Potato Head”, I would have to say, “I liked John Lennon. John Lennon was a “friend” of mine. You, sir, are no John Lennon.”

So, with these lofty thoughts rattling around in my head, I came across an article about a man whose home was burning down. He immediately saved his family and pets, and made sure everyone was safe and sound. And then, inexplicably, he went back into his burning home…and saved his beer.


Save me

Save me

It got me to thinking: was it really, really GOOD beer? Is it the kind of beer you can only get from a burning building? Was this his idea of a noble quest?

Here are a few questions you should ask yourself if your house is on fire:

1. Now that my family and pets are safe, I should definitely:

a) Go back inside that burning building and get my beer out

b) While there, grab a bag of marshmallows so’s I can get me some roasted marshmallows

c) Stay away from anything that’s in flames because flames burn and kill

d) Douse myself with gasoline and THEN re-enter the house

Answer: A & B

2. The term “back draft” applies to:

a) That movie with Kurt Russell and William Baldwin

b) That thing that almost kills you when you run back inside your burning house to save your beer

c) What you feel when your plumbers’ pants don’t cover your butt

d) All of the above

Answer: D

3. People don’t remember that you’re a hero when:

a) After you rescue every living thing in your house, you run back inside and almost kill yourself to save some beer

b) You risk the lives of firefighters who would’ve gladly given you a beer if you’d only asked

c) You choose to save beer and not the priceless Van Gogh painting you didn’t even know you had hanging in your living room

d) You don’t know who Van Gogh is unless we say, “that painter guy who cut his own ear off.”

Answer: A & B

At least this man got out alive and everyone had a good chuckle. He even got to save a few cans of beer after all. So, I guess there really was a happy ending to this story.

I could’ve left it there, but unfortunately (for you), this got me thinking. I started to wonder what truly stupid things I would rush back into a burning building to save. So, here’s my list of:

The Top 15 Stupid Things I Might, in Some Parallel Universe, Rush into a Burning Building to Save

Great. Bread. Recipe.

Great. Bread. Recipe.

#15: My Charlie Brown Cookbook

This actually did go up in flames when my parents’ house got hit by lightening and burned down. You can read about that fun-filled moment in my life in my upcoming book, Tales From a Hungry Life: A Memoir With Recipes. Coming to Amazon in just a few weeks! (How’s that for a shameless self-promotion?)

Now that I finally found a copy of Charlie Brown’s lunch bag cookbook on the internet, there’s no way I’d let it go up in flames again—even though I only use one of the recipes.

Always a crowd pleaser

Always a crowd pleaser

#14: My Dancing Green Man (pictured here with his girlfriend)

When life hands you lemons, wind up your little green man and he will make you feel like starting your own lemonade stand, then selling a 10% stake to it on Shark Tank and making millions. My little green man sits on my desk and dances across it whenever I feel like I need a lift. I think he’s hilarious. All right, so he’s not a case of beer, but still.

Oh! I can add more

Oh! I can add more

#13: Jenga

C’mon…I can (and often do) play this game for hours. There is nothing quite like the challenge of building something that can defy the laws of physics (whatever that means) as well as common sense. I like to think of it as my personal model of “hope trumping experience.” This one’s gotta be saved!

#12: Kit Kat Bars

Gimme a break, Gimme a break. Break me off a piece of that Kit Kat bar! I realize if I ran into a burning building to save these, my Kit Kats would probably be nothing more than a pile of liquid chocolate gold, leaving me to cry and shake my fist at the universe as the building crashed all around me. But still, I would never forgive myself if I didn’t try.

#11: The Game of Life

Important life lessons AND a plastic car filled with peg people

Important life lessons AND a plastic car filled with peg people

My friend Ann and I used to sit in my old bedroom when we were kids and play this game all afternoon long. It was like a religion to us. After school was over, we’d walk up to Gunther’s Deli and get Suzie Q’s and cokes, and then sit in my room and wind our way along the path of Life. We wouldn’t stop until we’d packed our cars full of kids and ended up millionaires. A fiery grave is NOT for the Game of Life.

Really. I'm going to use these

Really. I’m going to use these

#10: My Kettle Bells

Because after the fire, I’m really, REALLY going to get into shape.

#9: The Twilight Saga

Of course I’m just kidding. If I had these outside with me, I might throw them back in to the burning building.

#8: My dog’s hedgehog toy

Faithful friend, I would never leave you behind

Faithful friend, I would never leave you behind

It takes FOREVER for my dog to lay down and go to sleep. Yes, I know we all would have to learn how to adjust, especially after our home burned down. But there’s no way I’m going to have her pacing all over the place, looking for her hedgehog. Did you ever see the movie, Best In Show? Think bumblebee toys and you’ll know what I’m talking about.

#7: My Minions Tee-Shirt

2 Kool 2 Burn

2 Kool 2 Burn

This tee-shirt is really soft and makes me laugh whenever I see it. Now if that’s not a good enough reason to risk 3rd degree burns and possible death, I don’t know what is.

#6: A Jar of Nutella

While I’m inside, I might also grab some bananas and whip up some crepes that I’ll stuff with Nutella. What, I don’t have time for that kind of thing?

#5: Count Chocula

I have not eaten Count Chocula in several decades….BUT, if I actually had a box of this in my possession, and it was trapped in a burning building, I would feel compelled to free the Count from his fiery end.

Get it out before it melts

Get it out before it melts

#4: Ben & Jerry’s Chunky Monkey

Do I really need to explain this one? Obviously, worth going back into any building to retrieve, even if the entire building is in flames.

#3: My Bowling Ball

It's not like they have these at every bowling alley

It’s not like they have these at every bowling alley

Yes, I’m pretty sure that I’d run past my favorite books, beloved photos, and my bike for my bowling ball. Right.

#2: My Sombrero

You can't have just one

You can’t have just one

Look, if my house is burning on a sunny day, I’ll need to shade my eyes. Also, Cinco de Mayo just wouldn’t be complete without this necessary headwear. It’s not like I can find a sombrero on any old street corner, or at the local party store. So flames be damned!

#1: Matches

You never know when a pack of these will come in handy. I keep the ones I got for my wedding—the ones that said, “Gary & Mana,” just in case there’s a birthday cake that needs a few candles set ablaze. They’re also there because I like to remember not to take myself very seriously…because Mana don’t play that game.


I imagine if I were forced to stand by and watch all of my worldly possessions go up in a fiery conflagration, I’d need something sweet to revive me, possibly before, during, and after. This coffee flavored ice cream might be a good place to start.

This will cool you off

This will cool you off

Coffee-Drenched Ice Cream


So, Hungry Lifers…if you had to choose a few very, very stupid things to run back into a burning building for, what would they be? What food would you choose to eat while watching this horror unfold? Would you be hungry? As a matter of fact, I would probably be hungry, but that’s why this blog is called…oh never mind. Please leave a comment and let us know your thoughts. Thanks!



  1. First I love when you do multiple choice questions. They always make me laugh and they’re the only tests I ever get 100 on. Great post!

    Comment by Suzanne — November 6, 2013 @ 8:21 am | Reply

    • Just kidding I’m not done! What would I take… My sons autograph collection. He spent years working on getting them and I actually do think of that in case of an emergency. My puppet, my keys to my car, all my pocketbooks (since I never empty them when I get a new one so there’s lots of change in them) , and that’s it. That autograph collection is heavy.

      Comment by Suzanne — November 6, 2013 @ 8:27 am | Reply

      • I cannot tell you how relieved I am to hear your puppet gets out alive. Just one thing: why doesn’t your son save his autograph collection?

        Comment by talesfromahungrylife — November 6, 2013 @ 10:36 pm

    • I will get to work on a future “multiple choice” test just for you. PS could you give me a topic? Just kidding. Great comment.

      Comment by talesfromahungrylife — November 6, 2013 @ 10:34 pm | Reply

  2. Dear Mana, If you and Gary were in the house naturally I’d run in and save Gary. Who is Mana anyway? But seriously when the house did go up in flames thankfully no one but me was inside and since I was inside already all I had to do is run outside. The thought of running back in to save your dolls or Jude’s instruments or my very own Trumpet never entered my simple mind. I was out side, safe to live and annoy another day what more can one ask? Before I sign off I must take back the thought that I’d save Gary, what the hell he is a bit younger, stronger than me and has hair. He should be saving me! Good post!

    Comment by Bglou — November 6, 2013 @ 11:00 am | Reply

    • By the time you go through that entire thought process in your head, Gary would be outside already. Don’t worry, he’ll save you!

      Comment by talesfromahungrylife — November 6, 2013 @ 10:37 pm | Reply

  3. Thank goodness HDTVs are easier to carry than our old boxy sets!

    Comment by thedailypeeve — November 6, 2013 @ 1:17 pm | Reply

  4. As long as my dog is out safe and sound, I would probably go back for my camera. No, not to take a picture of the burning house, or a “selfie” of my attempted escape, but because I lost my first high end camera to a crook when it was stolen from a closet at work. Then I lost the replacement high end camera in a boating spill while on a trip with my students where I chose to grab my student with one hand and the bottom of the boat with the other hand. The camera which was strapped around my neck went in the water with me. So, I would think I might not want to go through the “trauma” of losing another one of my “babies”.

    Comment by Lloyd S. — November 6, 2013 @ 10:32 pm | Reply

  5. Count Chocula! I can taste it now.

    Comment by Grace — November 6, 2013 @ 10:41 pm | Reply

  6. Great post! I think once I know everyone got out safely, I would take my cameras, pictures and for certain my Christmas ornaments. It took years to collect and everyone has a story attached to it. As for food, I would go to Key Food purchase deli meats, salads, soda and go to the nearest relative’s house and never leave. LOL

    Comment by Kathleen Lagalante — November 9, 2013 @ 9:20 pm | Reply

    • sounds familar

      Comment by Bglou — November 9, 2013 @ 9:39 pm | Reply

  7. Maria, besides people there is nothing in this world that would get me to run back into a burning house. I saw dad’s house burning when it was hit by lightning and as the windows broke and the tongues of flames lapped out the sills all I thought was nothing is worth going back in. Now I knew there was nothing in there of mine so maybe that helped my decision. I hope I would try to look at the situation as the glass being half full. I don’t have to get rid of my junk (the insurance company cleared it out) and if I did, I can always get new things. For those of you who enjoy shopping the fire gives you the opportunity to hone your skills in the stores. I may miss my old pictures but people today have the tendency to throw them out anyway. I showed my wedding album to my 25 year old daughter and she did not recognize many of my older relatives. She also doesn’t want these pictures because she does not feel connected to these people. Who am I saving these treasures for? Most things are replaceable, except people.

    Comment by Tony Lagalante — December 1, 2013 @ 7:46 pm | Reply

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