Saturday, December 29, 2012

"Home Improvements" Moment

Tim Allen wasn't the first to come up with the concept, but did do a great job of giving it "life" to others.

When I was a kid, I got a Six-Million Dollar Man action figure. It stood about eight inches tall with movable arms and legs (action figures when I was a kid were ACTION figures - not immobile figurines.) You could look through a hole in the back of his head to look through his "bionic eye" (in the show, he could zoom in on things far away - with the action figure it was looking through the wrong end of binoculars), and by pushing a button in his back his right arm (also "bionic") would go up. My parents went all out. Included was a rocket that Steve Austin (same dude) would ride inside. And when you simulated the crash (check out the intro titles to the show below) you could open it up into an operating table to "build" the bionic man. Really cool.

Another cool item was a backpack he would wear that was actually a crystal-set radio. These are radios that came with an alligator clip that you would connect to a ground (like a metal fence/post) for "power", and with the earphone (one-half of a set of ear buds for you "whipper snappers") you could listen to AM radio.

I remember the first day my parents left me with my older brother as my "baby sitter". He was in the one end of the house and I was in the other - the TV room. I was playing with the crystal-set radio and was fussing with the lack of quality signal I was getting when listening to it. So I thought, "What I need is MORE POWER." I took the power cord from my brother's cassette player (it had no power adapter/converter, also known as a "wall wart"; just a straight cord with an end with two holes [female end] that plugged into the two pronged [male end] of the cassette player), plugged the one end into the wall socket, put the earphone in my ear, and took the alligator clip and plugged it into the two-holes at the other end of the cord.

There was a spark. There was smoke coming up from the carpet where I was sitting. The alligator clip had MELTED. I looked at the palm side of my hand and it was BLACK! I screamed.

My brother came running down the hall yelling, "I'm dead! I'm dead! I'm dead!" He took me in the bathroom and scrubbed the black off of my hand (burnt skin??)

Nothing like a little "more power" to hurt oneself.

Oh, and we didn't tell the folks until we were adults - like, thirty-some years later!

© Emittravel 2012

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