Culture

Dusting Off: Stoking a Fire

When's the Last Time You Actually Took Part In This Wonderful Winter Cliché?

By Geoff Rynex ·
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GraphicaArtis / Getty Images

As connoisseurs of history, we sometimes find styles, habits and turns of phrase from the past that we wouldn’t mind bringing back to the present, Doc Brown–style. This time around, we’re dusting off the act of stoking a fire...

Fireplaces are mostly gas-powered nowadays. They’re operated by remote control, or app, probably. This is nothing new, and all part of the natural evolution of humankind's effort to not burn down its home. But this season, we’re feeling a tinge of nostalgia for that classic holiday tableau of the old brick-made, wood-burning fireplace. Specifically, one being poked to perfection by a substantial wrought-iron instrument.

We envision an unhurried older gentleman in an ancient chunky cardigan setting up to tell some captivating tale to a surrounding group of youngsters, first leaning over from his wing chair and nudging a log just so to make sure the proper mood lighting is achieved. Embers shoot up and sideways at different speeds, the wood crackles, and anticipation peaks. Faces glow and eyes shine, the shared warmth adding a sensory special effect to the narrative.

Back in reality, a man sinking into a 15-foot sectional with his legs crossed over a sueded ottoman scrolls through the Time Warner Cable guide while leaning over to grab his iPhone. He launches the IntelliFire Touch Controls app and silently taps a part of the screen that manufactures a synthetic “whoosh” sound as a perfectly level flame forms over a bed of glass ceramic pebbles behind a sealed glass window. He settles on a Big Bang Theory rerun.

Bring back the stoke.

If Geoff Rynex is honest, he still doesn't really understand what Bitcoin is.

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