Guest Poster, Patrick O'Hara: The (fake) story behind Krazy Kaplan

If you have lived in Chicago long enough then I am sure you know who Krazy Kaplan is.  He is the loony looking guy on billboards offering to sell you fireworks at Krazy prices.  Whenever I see these billboards I always try to think of the story behind the crazy man.  He might not even have a story but here is my interpretation of how Krazy Kaplan came to be.

Kaplan Wigglesworth III was born in Bloomington Indiana in the summer of 1952.  His father was a budding scientist working on an top secret experiment for the government.  Kaplan loved his father and looked up to him.  Kaplan even had a chemistry set and would try to mimic his father’s experiments.

One day Kaplan snuck into his father’s lab in the basement and watched his father work with gunpowder and sulfur.  When mixed together it would create and explosion or so the theory went.  Kaplan’s father stepped out for lunch and Kaplan was left alone in the lab, he was now 11 years old and felt he could help his father with the experiment.

So as father ate lunch Kaplan started to gather the gunpowder and sulfur and he also had ideas for other experiments.  He carefully started to mix the sulfur and gunpowder and noticed a spark.  The spark became an explosion sending chemicals flying everywhere.  The explosion was so strong that his father was knocked to the ground and was knocked out.

Various chemicals surrounded Kaplan phosphorus, sulfur, zinc and neon.  Kaplan breathed in a lot of the chemicals before his father finally came to and to his son’s rescue.  Kaplan spent several days in the hospital, but was never quite the same.  He sat there with wiry hair and his tongue hanging out and talked of a fire in the sky.

His father could no longer care for him and he spent the rest of his childhood in an asylum.  On the day of his 18th birthday he was set free.  Laws were pretty lax back then, no need to check just trust me.  Kaplan found a shack in the woods in Hammond Indiana and made that his house/lab.  There he continued what his father worked on but made it for recreation instead of war.

In this lab he invented the first bottle rocket.  Kaplan held a bottle with a bottle rocket in it and lit the wick and up into the sky it went with a whistle then a boom.  The locals noticed the light show and came out to see what was happening.  Kaplan saw the people and realized there may be a market for the bottle rocket and began selling them out of the shack.  The first “Krazy Kaplan’s”  he then opened many more stores in Indiana.

Later in life Kaplan retired to Antigua and lived the rest of days alone but with happiness of making his dad’s dream come to life.

This is of course a made up story meant to entertain you before you leave for the day’s activities.  Please have a safe and enjoyable Independence Day.

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