Word Count: 499
Rules Are Not Made to be Broken
By Jenny Scarano
In the first grade, a special guest fireman came to talk to our class about lightning safety. Being an excellent student, I paid close attention. Number one: When thunder roars, go indoors. Pretty straightforward. What idiot would be outside anyway? Number two: See lightning glow, get low. Hmmm, I thought it would be better to shelter under a tree, but the fireman explained that if you were the highest object around, the lightning would find you first. Got it. Number three: Pedal away from metal. Metal conducts electricity. Check. Finally, number four: Don’t get caught-er near the water. (Terrible rhyme Mr. Fireman, but I see your point). Water can become electrified. Very dangerous.
Feeling prepared for summer’s most dangerous threat, I headed home. Thunderstorms happened, as they do, but no big deal. My whole family seemed to understand the rules. We went indoors when thunder roared; we watched from a safe distance and never stayed out by the pool.
That summer we rented a cabin on Pleasant Lake with my extended family. My sister, cousins, and I would run around all day under gentle supervision from the adults and we were all having a grand old time until one fateful night.
It was bedtime and I was reading when I saw a flash of light from the window. Was that lightning? A second flash confirmed. Okay, I was indoors so totally safe, but maybe not everyone was as aware of proper lightning protocol like me. I had better check. I wandered around and saw my sister, my aunts, uncles and cousins. They were all inside and no one was touching any metal or taking a bath or doing anything crazy. But where were my parents? I looked all around the house, upstairs and downstairs. They have to be in the house. There’s lightning! I started to get a little frantic when out of the corner of my eye I spotted something down on the dock. Was that my parents??? Sitting on aluminum metal chairs?? At the end of the dock where they were the highest thing?? ON THE WATER?? That’s breaking all four rules! They were definitely going to die. I would have to go live with my cousins and they’re terrible. Panic set in. I had to save them. I ran to the back door screaming their names. The wind blew my cries right back in my face. I stood in front of the metal screen door, which I obviously couldn’t touch, and screamed and screamed. They couldn’t hear me. I couldn’t go out there. I couldn’t touch the door. I couldn’t go near the water. The rules! They’re going to die! I went into hysterics.
Finally, my Aunt Debbie came to see what the matter was and bravely went outside to retrieve my parents before they were zapped to death. The relief overwhelmed me. My mother tried to give me some line about heat lightning, but she wasn’t a fireman. What did she know? I saved them.