Mike’s elec­tri­cal prob­lem solved with just the turn of a tater


As part of Glen­side’s “First Fri­day” event in De­cem­ber, Mike will be sign­ing copies of his book “Danc­ing in My Un­der­wear: The Sound­track of My Life” from 5 to 7 p.m. Fri­day, Dec. 7, in the outer lobby of the Keswick The­atre.

Never once have I con­sid­ered that elec­tri­cal is­sues in the home could be solved with a potato, but that is only be­cause I am not a for­mally trained home-im­prove­ment ex­pert.

So when elec­tri­cal is­sues more com­pli­cated than chang­ing a light bulb arise, I usu­ally sum­mon the pro­fes­sion­als be­cause I tend to shy away from any home project that has the po­ten­tial to kill me.

I will apol­o­gize in ad­vance for us­ing any tech­ni­cal terms that you, dear rHDGHr, PLJhW finG FRnIuVLnJ whHn GHscrib­ing the lat­est home project cri­sis at our house.

Seems like we in­deed needed an­other light bulb changed, this one on the out­side of the house right by the garage. This is nor­mally not a prob­lem for me be­cause I am the fam­ily’s Vice Pres­i­dent in Charge of Chang­ing Light Bulbs and I have, in the past, demon­strated a cer­tain level of com­pe­tency Ln WhH GuWLHV DVVRFLDWHG wLWh WhH RI­fiFH.

But when I re­moved the burned out bulb this time, the glass por­tion of the bulb came out quite nicely, but the (Tech­ni­cal Term Alert) metal thread thingy on the end of the bulb stayed firPOy LPSODnWHG Ln WhH (7HFh­nLFDO 7HrP AOHrW ,,) OLJhW fixWurH GRRhLFNHy. This is what I con­sider a “com­pli­ca­tion.”

Although I am not an ex­pert in elec­tric­ity, I do know that stick­ing a pair RI SOLHrV LnWR D OLJhW fixWurH WR IrHH WhH WhrHDG WhLnJy IrRP WhH fixWurH GRRhickey might re­sult in a shock­ing and un­ex­pected whoop­sy­doo­dle down my leg. Thus, the project had been left un­com­pleted for sev­eral weeks.

For­tu­nately we have ex­perts in the fam­ily that can han­dle th­ese home project com­pli­ca­tions. Both No. 1 SonIn-Law (government code name No1SIL) and No. 1 Penn­syl­va­nia Brother-In-Law (government code name No1PABRO) are both card-car­ry­ing mem­bers of the Fed­er­ated Brother­hood of MacGyvers (FBOMS). Give th­ese guys a plas­tic spoon, a pa­per­clip, a rub­ber band and a roll of duct tape and they’ll build you a house.

Tired oI Py hHVLWDWLRn Rn ― DnG IHDr RI ― WDFNOLnJ WhH SrRMHFW, 7hH Blonde Ac­coun­tant con­sulted her brRWhHr ― 1R13AB52 ― DnG GHWDLOHG WhH OLJhW fixWurH SrRbOHP. (DVy enough, he said, we only needed to take a raw potato and jam it up into WhH fixWurH GRRhLFNHy WR unVFrHw WhH thread thingy from its predica­ment.

When she re­layed the in­for­ma­tion to me, I had never heard of such a thing. A potato? Really? My firVW rHDFWLRn wDV WhDW 1R13AB52 was pulling my leg. So I con­sulted 1R16,/ DnG hH, WRR, FRn­firPHG WhH Great Potato So­lu­tion. Ap­par­ently I am the only guy in North Amer­ica who didn’t know this was an­other use for a potato.

Older Daugh­ter chimed in as well, ad­mit­ting that she, too, knew about potato thing. But she is mar­ried to a se­cret agent with a code name so she prob­a­bly knows a lot more about pota­toes than just their use­ful­ness in solv­ing elec­tri­cal prob­lems.

“Make sure the light switch is off be­fore you stick any­thing into the OLJhW fixWurH,” DGGHG 1R16,/. “BuW it’s no big deal. It’s only 110 volts.”

I beg to dif­fer. I con­sider any amount of volt­age pass­ing through my body and send­ing sparks out my back­side a pretty big deal, although some­thing like that could of­fer an op­por­tu­nity to change ca­reers and get a job as a cir­cus per­former.

(YHnWuDOOy , VHFurHG D rDw SRWDWR ― nRWH WR RWhHr hRPH LPSrRYHPHnW novices: It really needs to be a raw potato be­cause french fries, tater tots and hash browns really don’t work DV wHOO ― DnG wHnW DbRuW WhH WDVN RI MDPPLnJ LW uS LnWR WhH OLJhW fixWurH, with a twist.

AW firVW, nRWhLnJ SRVLWLYH wDV hDSpen­ing, un­less one con­sid­ers that OLJhW fixWurHV DSSDrHnWOy FDn bH uVHG to peel pota­toes. I’m not sure how use­ful that in­for­ma­tion is, but I’m FRn­fiGHnW WhDW WhH 0DFGyYHrV Ln the fam­ily could some­how in­cor­po­rate it into their next house-build­ing project.

To help make the pro­ce­dure more ef­fec­tive, it oc­curred to me to take a knife and carve the potato so that it had a bit of a point to it, which I WhHn rHLnVHrWHG LnWR WhH OLJhW fixWurH doohickey and be­gan a slow turn of the tater.

And what do you know, the dadgummed thing started to work like it was in­tended to. I was able to loosen the lodged metal thread thingy from the old bulb enough to get my thumb and in­dex fin­ger around it and fin­ish the ex­trac­tion.

Of course, I did the Snoopy Happy Dance up and down the drive­way be­cause any success, no mat­ter how small, in the area of home projects is a big deal for me and I wanted to make sure all the neigh­bors were aware of it.

One of my Face­book friends sug­gested that this potato-in-the-light idea could be devel­oped into a new (DVW CRDVW wDy RI PDNLnJ IrHnFh fries.

I’m go­ing to have to con­sult the fam­ily MacGyvers on that. It’s a VDIH bHW WhDW WhHy’OO fiJurH RuW D wDy to make it hap­pen.

Mike Morsch is ex­ec­u­tive ed­i­tor of Mont­gomery Me­dia and au­thor of the book, “Danc­ing in My Un­der­wear: The Sound­track of My Life.” He can be reached by call­ing 215-542-0200, ext. 415 or by email at msquared35@ya­hoo.com. This col­umn can also be found at www. mont­gomerynews.com.

Mike Morsch

Outta Left­field

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