Re: My First Hookah Experience = Nightmare
That is quite a horror story. Never under any circumstances should you touch lit coals. Dumping water on the floor makes more sense but I know that these things happen. Please wait until you get some decent coals before trying again and be sure to use your tongs when lighting them. I have never had much luck with screens so i'd recomend waiting until you have some foil. As long as the base isn't cracked or chipped it will work just fine so don't worry about the finish because it's just a matter of time until it wears off anyway. While a dented ashtray is annoying as long as it fits on the rig it should be no problem. Also, you can another ashtray for cheap from several vendors.
I hope you feel better soon, take care of your fingers and give it another careful try when you're ready.