This past Fourth of July, we did a bit of barbecuing. (Microwaving the hamburgers just hadn't seemed sufficiently festive.)
Now, as experienced charcoal grillers are aware, one piles the brickettes tightly and douses them with lighter fluid. The brickettes are then lit and allowed to burn until each is glowing, covered with a grey blanket of ash. Finally, one spreads the glowing brickettes evenly about the grill and puts food on the grill. Under no circumstances would an experienced grill-meister re-apply lighter fluid.
I, however, am not an experienced grill-meister. I splashed lighter fluid on the coals initially, and a short five minutes later put the grill and food in place. When the food was still cool to the touch ten minutes after that, I removed the grill and food, re-applied lighter fluid, let burn for a couple of minutes, then put the grill and food back in place.
The family (and friend) dutifully ate the burgers, despite the petrochemical taste that lingered like a faint perfume. Perhaps it was only coincidental that my eldest awoke before dawn the next morning to wretch up the wretched meal.
But this whole episode got me thinking about the similarity between lighter fluid and polygamy.