05 December 2010
From the This Just Happened Dept.
Every time I have to change the light bulb in the more challenging of my two kitchen fixtures (they don't match), I'm overwhelmed with trepidation. Until this afternoon, I had cooked my gourmet meals at the WTT compound in half-light for a week. But today, inspired by Christmas card writing procrastination, I acted decisively and swapped the bulb. You must imagine a fixture much like this one:
I stand on a chair, screw in the new bulb, and do my best to twist the fixture back in the two brackets that hold it in place. Each and every time I tentatively test the security of the light while stepping down from the chair I say to myself: Kirk, you just have make it out from under the fixture right now and then, if it falls, it will surely happen when you are no longer directly underneath.
The chances are low that I would be hit by a falling light fixture in my apartment. But, to echo the best line in Patty Berglund's autobiography in Freedom, they are, alas, not zero.
Cut to me some hours later, ravenously hungry and just plating a heap of penne pasta done to al dente perfection, as always (note: not really). There's a brief sound, not unlike glass scraping off a metal bracket, then a very cinematic THUMP--CRACK--SHATTER as the fixture strikes me on the left temple, breaks on the counter and dinner plate, and smashes into an impressive number of shards all over the linoleum and carpet.
My first thought is rage at the 20 cents worth of ruined pasta, one noodle of which rests forlornly on my slipper. Then I note that there's no blood (just red sauce) and I'm not seeing stars but instead yellow lightning bolts, which are much more appropriate for the occasion. I'm charmed.
I continue to monitor myself for concussion-like symptoms, hoping to avoid an Eric Lindros-like future of punchdrunkenness. I've learned the important lesson that I can change a light bulb by myself, but not necessarily without injury.