A couple of months ago a bolt of lightning hit the roof of our condo. It immediately created a powerful electrical surge that fried a computer, the HDMI port of our flat screen television, and the thermal fuse in our clothes dryer. The surge to the dryer sparked a small fire which in turn set off a smoke alarm. In my mad rush to figure out the source of the smoke, Gorgeous called 911 and within minutes three trucks arrived.
We had drama, we had noise, we had excitement!
We also had firemen peeking in our closets.
The dryer’s thermal fuse did what it is designed to do and the fire quickly extinguished on its own. It only took the firemen about 10-15 minutes to figure out what happened. The dryer was quickly unplugged, removed for safety, and later repaired.
And for the second time in our marriage, Gorgeous happily interacted with firemen.
About three years ago when we lived in Fresno, CA, a similar kind of power surge occurred with the phone and cable wiring under our street. It sparked an underground fire that resulted in an area-wide power outage. Once it became apparent that no one was actually in any danger, a carnival-like atmosphere spontaneously took place between Fresno’s finest, the residents on our block, and my lovely bride.
While some husbands might exhibit a jealous streak about something like this, I am predisposed to self-justify that there is no way I can compete with a burly man in a uniform.
Of course, it goes without saying that she married me for my superior intelligence, debonair bearing, and classically chiseled features.
But not my brawn.
Moreover, my sister-in-law actually married a fireman in the last year (Hi, A). So one can only guess on the psychological and genetic predispositions taking place for the women in that family. I therefore have chosen to be amused by any and all attraction to firemen. A little humility goes a long way.
Machismo and modesty aside, we nonetheless had some damaged appliances on our hands from this most recent weather calamity.
The TV no longer connects to the cable box via the HDMI cable, but fortunately we found that a high-grade component connection using venerable RCA plugs still offers a digital picture that is clear and sharp. It’s a slightly old-fashioned fix, but that’s how I like to roll with electronics anyway. I choose to see it as a “classic” viewing experience. Sorry, Best Buy; we’ll see you further down the road a bit.
The computer, however, is toast. It was six years old and had been limping along in spite of my occasional efforts to maintain it by defragging the hard drive, emptying the browser cache, and deleting all those tiny Internet files. It symbolically became that device a cheap member of your family owns, convinced that he can still get a few more years of use out of it.
To add insult to injury, this is the computer that I “gave” to Gorgeous after she bestowed upon me a brand new Mac laptop as a wedding present. I got a Mac Air, she got my old Hewlett-Packard. Can you spell p-i-k-e-r? Apparently I can.
The computer contained a treasure trove of information, though not necessarily the kind I was interested in sharing with the world. Or a new wife for that matter.
I bought it just after my first marriage ended, and I suppose you could say that it was both witness and active participant to much of my personal peccadilloes of that time. The browser cache contained a good deal of some of my tomcat movements, which Gorgeous later discovered quite easily. The same level of cluelessness in which I carried myself during that period also extended to my online pilgrimages. Online dating sites filled the browsing history to such a degree that it conspicuously showed off the one-dimensional level of my interests and thinking.
Art? Music? Literature? Nah. But I did have a robust matrix on the desktop of every watering hole within walking distance of my bachelor pad. Like Hitler invading Poland, testosterone formed a beachhead that expertly cut off all supply lines running north of my neck and shoulders.
Gorgeous enjoyed to no end giving me grief about all the things she came across while using that computer. On seeing a dating site profile where I described myself as “kind and mellow,” she remarked that “nervous and neurotic” might have been more apt.
A handsome nervous and neurotic, I’m sure she meant.
I later spent a fair amount of time wiping data from that hard drive. I can now appreciate how others feel who might be in a similar position, although I suspect I am a tad more candid about my experiences than they are.
Even though computer experts constantly advise us to back-up important data, I will admit that I’ve never been too vigilant about doing so. Most of the critical documents that sit on my personal laptop are backed-up to a simple flash drive. There was one very important letter on the fried computer that Gorgeous has been composing for months which thankfully we did take precautions ahead of time to save. But fortunately, just about everything else that was lost isn’t very important.
Neither of us are particularly religious people, yet I still can’t help but consider that from an insurance adjuster’s standpoint, what happened to our appliances was the dictionary definition of an Act of God. For me personally this means that henceforth I will indeed put all faith and trust into a higher power. By that I mean that we’ll make sure to get the best uninterrupted power supply (UPS) apparatus we can possibly afford for our next computer. Piety is subjective.
In God, I do indeed trust. It’s just my fellow-man that makes me nervous. As a result, prior to taking the toasted computer to the recycle center, I was very careful to remove the hard drive for later destruction. I’ll happily share the skeletons of my closet to the faithful readers of this blog, but I’ll be damned if I leave traces of my nervous and neurotic self for just any ‘ol schmuck out there to find on his own. Start your own blog, brother.
Until next time…