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Saturday, August 10, 2019

Flaming Shots

When I was young and adventurous (or was it stupid?), I was a consumer of flaming shots. It was naturally exciting and obviously carried a high degree of risk. At the time, I was in my early twenties. I recall many years later in Miami talking to a fashionable Colombian couple, then, in their early thirties where I was lamenting about my flaming shots. To my big surprise, they mentioned that they had done some just a night or two before! This caught me off guard, honestly. Here was a sophisticated, highly personable, up and coming couple, who drove a Jaguar and they were talking to me about doing flaming shots? How could this be?

The flaming shot isn't all that far removed from Russian Roulette. The consequences are perhaps not as severe, but they certainly, under no uncertain terms can be very severe. Tales of participant's flaming shots going awry causing permanent disfigurement, were abundant. Actor Dan Haggerty had some sort of miscue where his beard caught fire. While doing flaming shots is, no doubt, adventurous, I wouldn't recommend it to those who are sporting beards of any kind, or anyone for that matter.

So, here's this very attractive couple telling me how they were doing flaming shots a night or two before. By this time I hadn't done a flaming shot in years and the thought of these two doing flaming shots just didn't settle well with me. I was trying to picture it. A young attractive couple at a party in an upscale, very modern Miami home, dressed to the nine's and doing flaming shots? Something didn't fit.

They went on talking about how exciting it was! The woman was exceptionally beautiful. I couldn't wrap my head around the idea of her doing flaming shots!

You guys are doing flaming shots???”

Oh yes! We love them!”

You drink them?”

Of course!”

You drink the flaming shot while it's on fire?”

WHAT??? DRINK IT ON FIRE??? ARE YOU CRAZY??? No, we blow it out and then drink it! On fire? Man! That's like the guy at the circus!!

I breathed a sigh of relief. Thank God they weren't drinking real flaming shots!

Myself, I drank flaming shots for around two years or so. It certainly wasn't every time out, as I was predominantly a beer drinker. It was either my friends Jeff Fisher, or Dan McGovern who first mentioned it to me. You take a shot of alcohol, light it on fire and send it down the hatch while it's burning.

Now that was exciting! Jumping out of a plane isn't for me. Driving an F1 car, or an Indy car would be exciting, but one needs millions to do so. Here, I could do a death defying thrill for just a few bucks! Sold! Sold for me, that is. I do not encourage this for anyone! Live it vicariously here on the blog and go no further.

One of the main criteria for a flaming shot is that the alcohol must be at least 100 proof. Anything less than that won't burn. The alcohol itself burns a beautiful blue flame. I understand why my friends back in Miami loved lighting it on fire, as it's truly a breath-taking sight!

My first flaming shot was at a bar in Westwood, New Jersey named “What Ale's Ya?” I believe Jeff and Dan were at the bar with me doing likewise. I do not recall what it was we were drinking, but I'm leaning towards Wild Turkey?

In life I have been blessed with a rarity. I was given a brain that is both analytic and artistic. Those who read this blog would be acquainted with my artistic sides of me being an author, a songwriter, and musician. In the case of the flaming shot the analytic side kicked in.

I'm thinking “Let's use some common sense here”, at least as far as common sense goes when one is about to down a flaming shot, which is anything but common sense!!!! A flaming shot/common sense? HELLO!

The first thought that goes through my mind is that fire needs oxygen to burn.

With that in mind, I draw the conclusion that I need to deprive the flaming shot of oxygen as quickly as possible.

This is something that requires swiftness. Obviously, one is not going to sip a flaming shot! What was required was a very swift, rapid movement, which puts the shot into the mouth and and one closes their mouth as fast as possible, depriving the flame of oxygen and putting it out inside the mouth.

The other thing required is precision. None of the flaming shot can go anywhere other than inside the mouth. The consequences of error can be catastrophic. Picture a small amount of flaming liquid lands on the shirt of the imbiber. This causes mayhem, naturally. The first thing they do is attempt to put out the fire on their clothing. In their panic the first thing they do is say something like “OH SHIT!!!” and in doing so the alcohol in their mouth comes out and reignites all over them, clothes, face, arms. So yes, precision is paramount.

That evening at "What Ale's Ya?", all of this went through my mind and I completed my first flaming shot successfully! As a matter of fact, every flaming shot I took after that was successful. Over the next two years or so, I would do flaming shots in bars, parties, and camping trips. Mind you, it wasn't every time out, but I'd say between one and three times a month and there were a lot more one's than three's.

Then one evening it was either at "What Ale's Ya?", or maybe "The Barn", in Wyckoff, NJ, I lit a flaming shot at the bar. I lifted it and looked at the beautiful flame. It was beautiful indeed! I blew it out, then downed it.

                                                                The Barn

                                                                The Barn

I believe it was my guardian angle whispered in my ear at that moment saying “Stop! Your luck has run out. Never drink another flaming shot again. Ever!”.

Twice, many, many years later, I thought after already having some alcohol inspired confidence and bravado “Well that's phooey! I'm going to have a flaming shot!”

And on both times the exact same thing happened. My guardian angel said “No! Your luck ran out all those years ago. You're done! You've used it all up! Put it out!”

And in both cases, I took heed and blew out the flame.

I do not recommend that anyone do flaming shots. You've read the blog, smile and live vicariously. Do not do flaming shots. Your guardian angel might not be as good at this as mine!


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