June 28th, 2007

Summon the lightning!

Following up on a recent conversation, here's a random anecdote from my schooldays.

To set the scene, this event took place in my first year at CH, when I was 11 years old. (Digressing slightly, the nickname for a first year was "squit", which is apparently Latin for "inferior being".) One day there were a few of us standing around in the kitchen: a random cat had wandered in, so we'd put down a saucer of milk for it. I was holding a butter knife that I'd brought from home, i.e. a knife with a metal blade but just rounded edges rather than a cutting surface. This was back in my pre-vegetarian days, so it had a bone handle.

As I stood there watching the cat drink, I was idly swinging my arm backwards and forwards. There was a kettle plugged into the wall near me, but the plug wasn't quite snug: it was in far enough to get power, but there was maybe a 5mm gap between the plastic surfaces. (If that doesn't make sense, let me know, and I'll try to do an artist's impression.) The knife in my hand slid in between the plug and the socket, and knocked gently against the top metal pin. Nothing happened, but I was vaguely aware of the collision, so I shifted my hand slightly so that I was swinging the knife a bit lower. On my next swing, I knocked against one of the bottom pins; again, I felt the minor impact, but nobody else noticed.

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On a vaguely related note, I see that Sky are recruiting for a new gameshow: "Are You Smarter Than a 10-Year-Old?" (I've heard of the corresponding US show, which presumably inspired this: "Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?".) I think I'll give that a miss, because it might be embarrassing to find out how much I've forgotten, but I'll keep an eye out for it when it comes on TV.