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Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Dim Bulb

The other day a light bulb burned out. Oh I know this is hardly momentous or worthy of note. During the course of my life, I have had many bulbs burn out- physical, intellectual, metaphorical. The event of a bulb burning out is as exciting as…well… a light bulb burning out. 

What was somewhat eye-opening, however, was the quest for a new bulb,

See, the bulb which died was an incandescent type. The type Tom Edison perfected, with a tungsten filament, a blown glass top, and threaded metal base for the appropriate socket. If I am not mistaken, the bulb was part of a four-pack, procured at the local Wally Mega-Store. The pack may have cost about 3 bucks. I can’t say definitively; it was several years ago.

Seeing the decedent was the last of the four-pack, I set off in naivety to replace the bulb with another of its kin. Surprise, surprise, surprise.

Wally didn’t have any similar bulbs on his shelves, nor did the handy (not really a) Dollar Store. Visits to the 2 home centers favored by NASCAR car drivers yielded the same empty handed results.

In a last ditch effort, I popped into the local Mom & Pop hardware store. Certain my hunt was over, I wended my way to the light bulb aisle. And, there on the shelf was a large, empty space. No where could I find a good old-fashioned light bulb! They had passed away. I had not even seen the obituary.

From what I can gather, in a well-meaning, but ham-handed attempt to save the world as we know it, our over-reaching, “the public is too dumb to manage their own lives” Government…  I mean, the imminently wise, well intentioned kind folks who oversee our every move, have determined that Tom’s time-less design is evil and must go.

Rather, we must use Compact Fluorescent Bulbs, complete with little bits of ground water and soil contaminating mercury.  And, we get to pay about 5 times as much.

“But they cost less to use”; I can hear the whiny little voices.
So… I can look forward to First Energy sending me a big refund check for over-payments I have made. Sure, and it will be delivered by a flying pig.

“But they last so much longer”; continues the mantra.
Well, lets look at that. One said “expected service life 22.8 years”
That is a better than even chance the danged thing will out-live me! What am I supposed to do, list the light bulbs in my will?
“To my son, I do hereby bequeath the light bulb in the TV room lamp. To my daughter, I leave the bulb in the laundry room. To the pain in the rear neighbor whose car alarm goes off at 2A.M., I leave the bulb in the upstairs hallway, which should crap out in 6 months. Let him find an EPA acceptable disposal site for the stupid thing!”

Have you tried to figure out what size bulb you need? In the old days, one simply got a bulb of the desired wattage, 25, 40, 60, 75 and so on. Now you have to determine how many “lumens” are desired.

I realize a lumen is a measure of light, but how does that correspond to watts?

If the packs were labeled as “bright room”, “sort of bright room”, “mood lighting”, and “candle in a coal mine”, you would have some idea as to what you are getting. As it stands, one is taking a stab in the dark.

I took my $7 light bulb home, and ceremoniously placed it in the eagerly awaiting lamp. With a heavy sigh, I switched it on.

With a shake of my head, I was grieved thinking of our Founding Fathers. I am quite certain they had no intentions of a government which leaned so heavily upon its citizens.
Certainly, they never envisioned a government mandating how we illuminate the dark.

I wonder… is Miss Liberty’s torch, casting the Light of Freedom to all….acceptable to the micro-managers?

I have to admit, a part of me hopes it isn’t.

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