Legend is that Sir Isaac Newton, the son of a farmer, enjoyed eating fruit more than growing it. Early in life, he learned if he wanted a piece of fruit, he could either climb a tree and pull it, or he would have to wait for one to fall.
Newton discovered there was an unseen force called gravity always pulling a piece of fruit downward, and when that force exceeded the resistance of the stem holding it to the tree, the apple was coming at him. Everyone knew that apples would eventually fall, but no one else was curious enough to ask the question, “Why?”
Now, it is time for the world to learn about what I call, “The Law of Extension Cords,” an unstudied phenomenon that has escaped scrutiny from the great scientists.
From time to time we all have to work with extension cords, but they can be a challenge, and often they cause the proverbial preacher to want to cuss.
All we want is to extend electrical power a little farther, or provide power for a second device, but no, the extension cord just won’t cooperate. It will not make it easy. While we are not looking, the cord may circle around a ladder’s leg to cause chaos when we move it about a room, pulling items from above, dragging objects below, and then coming unplugged right in the middle of our project.
A single cord can inconspicuously wrap itself around a user’s leg while the other end attaches to an immovable object. When we reach the limits of the cord, it will cause us to lose our balance and do some kind of weird dance to keep from falling. Even if we are not hurt, becoming king of the klutzes’ is embarrassing. Maybe no one saw me.
God help you if you have to use two extension cords. The two will work together against you creating multiple problems. They will slither around like snakes in some sort of love making ritual, rolling around each other so tightly that it becomes nearly impossible to separate them. They will render both cords useless, and destroy more than four times as many items as their single counterparts in their diabolical scheme to ruin your day.
Don’t tell them, but I have figured out a good use for extension cords, just not for the purpose they were manufactured. Because extension cords cling to everything, take one along if you plan to climb a mountain. Securely wrap it around your waist leaving plenty of slack. It will be aggravating at times hanging on most everything you encounter, however if you happen to fall in a way that would otherwise mean certain death, the extension cord will reach out and grab any and everything on the way down, and you will not fall very far.
Technically, it will be trying to be its normal aggravating self, eager to trip you, but without a brain it will not realize it is helping you. It really would rather see you fall 5,000 feet to your death.
It’s a wonder I have not hanged myself with one of these cords, and it would serve me right after calling them out. It is probably best not to antagonize them; they are enough trouble without any provocation.
Just one day after I wrote the above, I experienced a new twist to this story, literally.
I have been working to finish my writing room, a replica of Middle Bay Light. I built a scaffold so that I could safely reach the fifteen-foot height to the ceiling. Because it is so tall, and I get tired constantly climbing up, and crawling down after each task, I decided to take a jig saw up to my work platform with me. This allows me to make trim cuts to the boards I am installing without having to go down to the floor so often. Of course the saw requires electricity which will be supplied by an extension cord. No problem. I pulled the cord up and passed the male end down to my wife to plug in.
Ready to work, except I plan to use a pneumatic hammer to fasten the boards to the ceiling. I move my air compressor to the porch and pull the required hose through the window of my office and up to the scaffold and climb back up.
In position, sitting just below the peak of the ceiling with a board in my lap, an air gun resting on my right knee and a jig saw on my left. I hold the board against the ceiling, mark it, pull it down, press it against the hand rail of the platform, and cut. Then I lay the saw back on my leg, place the board against the ceiling, and lift the air gun. I successfully drive three nails into the board, but not without interference from the extension cord who has joined with the air hose to make completing this project as difficult for me as they can. Just five more boards to go.
The extension cord did all it could to misguide the saw toward my leg. It seemed so excited at the idea of my blood dripping from the ceiling like from a scene in some macabre Alfred Hitchcock movie. Somehow I kept the blade pointed at wood instead of my precious flesh.
Not to be outdone, the hose tried to control the air gun in a desperate attempt to nail my hand to the ceiling. Wouldn’t they have cheered at that scene; me hanging there, like a sacrifice to an ophidian god, blood covering my tools, and the last few drops trickling to the floor. The responding paramedics would just look up and say, “He should have known better than to take that extension cord for granted, and this fool thought he could use an air hose at the same time. God have mercy on his soul.”
Tomorrow I will be back at it. I am not going to let an extension cord or air hose get the best of me. I hope.
Wayne Brady 8/7/2016