Friday, July 20, 2007


DEATH TO WIMPY LIGHT SWITCHES


No big deal I thought, like the waterless rock was for Moses back in the day. Just a light switch, in this case - the one in the bathroom - gonna go dead any day now, getting wimpier by the flick. So, sooner - I guess - than later, I should go wander around the huge electrostore and find the identically serial-numbered light switch, buy it and bring it home, get out the tools, set aside some light switch time, hopefully I can reuse the switch plate, avoid electrocution - you see how this is building up - if you are an electrician this is child's play, but that is the very reason I am trying to avoid your hourly prices, I am DIY to the max.

Yet how ingrown is our growth, I feel at the edges of this undertaking. How incestuous, our increasingly helpless dependence-- I feel diminished by this impinging need for an electrician, things have gotten ever more complicated, but I'll take my chances, I've taken worse. If I survive, then I have learned; if not, other knowledge awaits.

Perhaps I'm an oddball in this regard, but I keep feeling that in the process we call progress we are advancing by weakening ourselves through aggravated specialization... And then, thinking this thought, I pull the wrong switch in the circuit breaker (the bathroom switch isn't under 'Bath Room,' but under 'Bed Room'...) and in what I guess would have been a first, almost get electrocuted because of a linguistic problem. Once disparate things are beginning to overlap in dangerous ways...

Back in the old days, a person could do it all; why, I remember I used to be able to fix my own car, on the spot, with my own tools in my own hands, before the dawn of the black boxes, when so many tasks disappeared from all our own hands...

But at least I'm still here, a bit buzzed, and that light switch is no longer wimpy.

4 comments:

Chancy said...

I admire your ability to at least try to DIY. The water filter on my fridge needs changing and wouldn't you know it is in the most inconvenient spot possible, way down at the bottom in the front of the grill. I can no longer recline stretched out on the floor and neither can my hubby so it's the hefty bill from the "repair guy" but next time I am going to get my soon to be 11 year old grandson to change it. :)

PS: Did you hair stand on end when you were fried?

Bob Brady said...

No, Chancy, fortunately the mountain gods were on my side. As I was maneuvering the dangling switch so as to get at the wires behind it and disconnect them with my bare hands, one of my fingers happened to press the light switch and the bathroom light lit up, at the same instant as the formerly dim bulb inside my head! Talk about enlightenment... whoa.

Winston said...

Now that I have spent a lifetime and a fortune collecting every conceivable tool needed to build and maintain a house, and know how to use them, everything has changed. Technology demands different tools and materials. Knees balk at the sight of a ladder. Hips and back scream when thinking about entering a crawl space or attic. But my garage walls are decorated with the most beautiful tool collection in this part of Tennessee.

Maya's Granny said...

I used to feel bad when I had to get my son or brother to do something for me that was easy for them. But these days, there are more things that most people can't do any longer, and I just feel old instead of stupid. Old is ok, live long enough and this is where you get. Stupid, not so much.

I once reached out of the tub to change the station on a radio. God alone knows why I'm still alive after that. It was an experience, all right.