Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to be Firebugs

A few weeks back, I sat with two of my brothers around our family’s backyard fire pit.  Both of them enjoy playing with fire and burning things, but beyond that, both felt the irresistible urge to get closer to the flames than I thought advisable (i.e. my youngest brother nearly set his shoes on fire).  All that notwithstanding, the other brother was extremely anxious and preachy whenever I stoked the fire, fearing that I’d stir up embers which would light my hair on fire.

I’d call him solicitous, but somehow I suspect he is trying to keep all the fun of burning things to himself.

This song is for him, Melpomene, and Valentine Wiggin, with apologies to Waylon and Willie.

Firebugs ain’t easy to scold and they’re harder to stop
Once they’ve got a burn pile with gasoline thrown on the top.
Big conflagrations and piles of charred papers
And logs in the fireplace to stoke –
If a Holocaust cloak isn’t in his possession,
He might one day go up in smoke.

Mamas, don’t let your babies grow up to be firebugs
Don’t let ‘em light matches or kindle a flame;
let ‘em stay safe playing video games!
Mamas, don’t let your babies grow up to be firebugs,
or you’ll just be concerned that they’ll get themselves burned,
even when heat’s what they love.

Firebugs love smoky old hick’ry and clean-burning kindling,
Lighters and tinder and blazes that dance in the night.
Them that don’t get that, cry “Arson!”
And them that do sometimes still find him unnerving;
He ain’t wrong, just a pyro
Who doesn’t know why you ignore his requests for a light.

Mamas, don’t let your babies grow up to be firebugs
Don’t let ‘em light matches or kindle a flame;
let ‘em stay safe playing video games!
Mamas, don’t let your babies grow up to be firebugs,
or you’ll just be concerned that they’ll get themselves burned,
even when heat’s what they love.

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