Light­ning strikes home

The Covington News - - Second opinion -

Con­sider this a pub­lic ser­vice an­nounce­ment.

It’s the kind of thing you hear about and shake your head be­cause it al­ways hap­pens to some­one else. It was a flash­boom ex­plo­sion that rat­tled the house and sent a blue steak fir­ing across the room fol­lowed by a smell of ozone.

When light­ning struck the side of my house, it burned the tele­phone line in half in three places and fried a va­ri­ety of ap­pli­ances. It was the first time I’d ever ex­pe­ri­enced a light­ning strike on my house or even in a house where I hap­pened to be sitting. No one was hurt and there was no fire.

Still, the sud­den­ness of such acts can be numb­ing. One minute a storm is an in­con­ve­nience and an­noy­ance and the next it has done ma­jor dam­age.

Light­ning is in­con­sis­tent in what it dam­ages.

The dish­washer was fried while the garbage dis­posal a few inches away was un­scathed; the toaster oven was bar­be­cued while an elec­tric can opener plugged in the same out­let was un­harmed and one com­puter (the new one of course) was cooked while an­other a few feet away (an­cient when even com­pared to the pyra­mids) is still plug­ging along.

There was also some slight dam­age to the car­pet as a re­sult of Sadee, the high-strung York­shire ter­rier who runs the house, be­ing ter­ri­fied and hav­ing a small ac­ci­dent.

One of the most ir­ri­tat­ing cir­cum­stances sur­round­ing the en­tire in­ci­dent is not just the dam­age but try­ing to ar­range for the var­i­ous peo­ple who need to come in and check de­vices, make re­pairs or tell you some­thing needs to be re­placed. Af­ter fight­ing with a for­est of phone trees, you end up with a yel­low tablet full of dates and times, with the real un­der­stand­ing that al­most none of them will ar­rive when they say they will.

If you get lucky enough to talk to a liv­ing per­son, you will end up hear­ing things like, “We will have a tech­ni­cian at you home be­tween the hours of 8 a.m. and 11 a.m. on some Thurs­day be­tween June and Oc­to­ber in the year 2017.” Then they will try to get you to pur­chase a new ser­vice or the lat­est won­der de­vice you don’t need.

Our lives teeter on disas­ter each day and it takes lit­tle to push things one way or an­other. De­spite the dam­age of the light­ning strike it could just as eas­ily have caused a fire, which makes a burnt-out toaster oven or hav­ing to man­u­ally open and close a garage door a mi­nor ir­ri­tant.

When bad things hap­pen, you have to ac­cept bad is a whole lot bet­ter than re­ally re­ally bad. And re­mem­ber, it can hap­pen to any­one.

Free­lance writer Ric Latarski can be reached at

Ric Latarski

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