Don’t Put Cloth Towels in a Microwave

June 1, 2017

I had the opportunity to teach a Creative Writing class this past semester. I am proud of my students and have been sharing some of their personal essays over the last couple of days. Today I have posted a personal essay written by sophomore Rachel Sullivan:

That Time I Almost Burnt the House Down…

“Pizza’s here!” My mom hollered to us as she balanced a stack of pizzas and shut the door behind her. My brothers and I immediately hopped from our beds and ran to the dining room.

“Calm down, calm down,” my mom chuckled as she set the boxes of pizza on the table. We got into our chairs and frantically ripped into the boxes. Cheese, pepperoni, and cheesy bread!! My mom went into the kitchen and grabbed five plates, she passed out the plates and I went straight for one slice of cheese pizza and two sticks of delicious cheesy bread. Now, at this time I was only about 6 years old, so my mouth was too small to eat all of this in 5 minutes, which caused the delicious food that was on the table to begin turning cold.

This was a problem. Room temperature pizza does ​not ​taste good to little Rachel. But, her mother shows her a solution: if you wrap a paper towel around the cheesy bread and put it in the microwave for thirty seconds, it will reheat the food! My mom did this for me one of two times and then she got sick of having to get up.

“I think you’re old enough to do it yourself,” she said.

“Yay!” I thought to myself, “My mom trusts me!”

I hurriedly grabbed my cheesy bread and ran to the kitchen. I tried to recall what my mom had done so many times before. Paper towel. Wrap it. Three zero. Start. I went over to the paper towel roll and reached for it. And reached for it. And got on my tippy toes and reached for it. I couldn’t get to it.

I stopped my efforts and looked around the kitchen and found a regular old kitchen towel. Perfect! Paper towels and towels are basically the same thing….right? Wrong.

Young Rachel delightedly wrapped her now cold cheesy bread with the towel, pressed three zero on the microwave, and hit the start button. My mouth watered thinking about the cheesy bread that was going to come out of that microwave all warm and gooey. Until it started smoking.

Another good name for this story could be: “The Day I Found Out that Towels are Flammable.” Because I quickly heard the smoke detector beep as smoke emerged from every opening in the microwave. I didn’t know what to do. I froze.

My parents ran into the kitchen followed by my two little brothers, to find me confusedly staring at the towel that was now actually on fire. My dad ran to the microwave and opened the door. He carefully grabbed the non burning part is the towel and threw it into the sink. He turned on the water and quickly put the fire out. Now all that was left to do was get all the smoke out of the house.

However, before my parents could open all of the windows to start this process, they lectured me. In this lecture, I relearned that towels are flammable and that they should never go in a microwave, and if I put a cloth towel in a microwave it will probably blow up.

My mom and dad then proceeded to go around the house and open all the windows in the house. I went to my room to sulk.

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