Energetic. Electrifying. A highly charged bundle of positive energy. I suppose you could say I am all of those things. But most of all, I’m shocking.
I’m not shocking in a “Hey, Father Flanigan, did you hear the one about the lesbian, the prostitute and the pedophile?” sort of way. Well, okay, so I have been known to tell an off-color joke or two in the presence of clergy. But, in my defense, nuns hardly ever wear habits anymore! How was I supposed to know Sister Malone was a nun? I mean, I thought ‘Sister’ was an odd first name, but hey, if some Egyptian guy can name his kid ‘Facebook,’ who’s to say someone couldn’t name a child ‘Sister’ or ‘Brother’? And besides, Sister Malone was three sheets to the wind, shouting “Beer bong! Beer bong!” as she danced on top of the bar. So, I’m totally, almost 90%, at least 50% sure I won’t be going to hell for telling a dirty joke to a drunken nun.
But that’s straying off topic, and we really should get back to me and why I am so energetic, electrifying, overflowing with positive energy and above all else, shocking! How is it that I’m so shocking? You wonder. Okay, well, maybe you’re not actually wondering that. In fact, I’m fairly certain that you’re wondering why I think you might think this particular blog entry is of any interest whatsoever to you. You are probably in the midst of a deeply stretched yawn as you read this, and pondering what you should do about dinner. ‘Hmmm…Should I make hamburgers or meatballs?’ you wonder.
More than likely, if you’ve managed to read this far, your mind is reeling with questions such as, ‘What the hell is wrong with Liz? Why is she always writing about herself? Energetic, electrifying? Sheesh! Who the hell does she think she is, anyway? It’s always all about Liz. Liz, Liz, Liz, Liz, Liz … Oh, sure, occasionally, she’ll spice things up with a story about a bank-robbing grandma, or going on a date with a transsexual, or something kooky like that… But, really! What is all this crap about her being so shocking? And why should I care? And, how the hell does she know what I’m thinking right now, anyway? Damn, I forgot to buy pickles. Oh, well, I guess I’m making meatballs tonight. How does Liz know I forgot to buy pickles? She’s a friggin’ freak! That’s how she knows! Aw, heck, I probably shouldn’t be so judgmental. I mean, after all, it IS Liz’s blog I’m reading. And isn’t a blog short for web-log, which by nature should be all about the person who’s blogging, and not about streaming stories from other blogs about Charlie Sheen? Come to think of it, Charlie Sheen is a much bigger freak than Liz could ever be. At least Liz isn’t claiming to have a 10,000-year-old brain and the boogers of a 7-year-old, like Charlie Sheen did on that Piers Morgan show. So, I suppose I should just continue reading to find out why Liz thinks she is so shocking, even if she is a little weird, but much less weird than Charlie Sheen. Do I have any parmesan cheese for my meatballs?’
OK. I will stop reading your mind now, and get to explaining why I am shocking.
It all started about a month ago. It was a fairly mild and sporadic phenomenon at first. I really didn’t think much of it. I knew from previous experience that occasionally, walking across a carpet can cause a mild electrostatic ‘shock.’ I didn’t quite understand the science behind such occurrences. I remembered my elementary school, when the only carpeted room in the entire building was the library. My fellow classmates and I couldn’t wait for library hour to give each other jolting sparks, under the guise of actually being interested in books. As I recall, it would take three brisk laps around the ‘Babar the Elephant’ section to build up enough static electricity to zap one or more of the stuck-up girls congregating near the ‘Nancy Drew’ books.
I need to read your mind again to move this story further along, so please bear with me.
‘Why would Liz use elementary school as a reference for carpet shock? Doesn’t she have more recent experience to draw on?’ you wonder.
The answer is NO! While I was born and raised and currently live in New York, I have spent the previous 25 years or so living in Florida. Anyone who’s lived in Florida knows that as of about 1989, carpeting was officially banned in the entire state (except for hotels within a 10 mile radius of Disney World). Well, by officially, I mean not banned in any court of law, but definitely banned in the court of public opinion. Nobody has carpet anymore in Florida. Well, okay, maybe one or two octogenarians living in a condo on Miami Beach still have carpeting. But, believe me, I haven’t spent enough time with the likes of them to risk any transference of static electricity!
So, imagine my surprise when about a month ago, I began experiencing mild shocks after sitting in a corduroy-covered recliner and walking across the living room carpet, and into the kitchen to grab a beer from the fridge. When I touched the metal handle of the fridge, zap! As I mentioned earlier, it was mild, and sporadic at first. But it grew more and more intense. So intense that I considered whether God was trying to send me a message to stop drinking beer; a notion which I quickly rejected. With God, all things are possible. So, if God wanted me to stop drinking beer, he would open a winery next door — “Duh!” (to quote Charlie Sheen).
In the past week or so, the shocks have been occurring so frequently and with increasing pain, that I began to wonder if maybe I was a freakish anomaly amongst the human race. After all, I do have bona fide pointed ears, and could perhaps be a bona fide electrically charged, pointy eared mutant. I wondered; could I possibly be living the life of a character in a Stephen King novel? It got to a point when anytime I touched anything conductive, I created a spark, and felt a shock of noticeable discomfort. We’re not talkin’ elementary school library stuff anymore. This was serious.
Why was this problem only happening to me, and no one else in the house? What was causing this to happen? Could this situation continue to escalate to a point where I could possibly die from electrocution? And most importantly; if I died from static-electrocution, would insurance cover it?
I did what any other intelligent and reasonably minded person would do; I Googled it. ‘Why am I always getting shocked?’ I typed into the Google search bar. About 686,000 results came up, many explaining in detail the science behind my dilemma. Turns out, I was not alone. While I might like to think I was somehow special, and experiencing a strange, mind-boggling phenomenon worthy of at least one good conspiracy theory, it all turns out to be quite mundane.
The truth is; we live in a world where everything is made of atoms. Atoms have electrons (representing a negative charge) and protons (positive charge). The negative and positive charges usually balance-out, which keeps life, as we know it, flowing quite nicely. Static electricity occurs when the atomic charges within correlating objects redistribute, moving from one source to the other. When the objects separate, one item takes an excess of the positive charge and the other more of the negative charge. If the objects can conduct electricity, in most cases, the charges will settle into the material, recombine, and even out. But if the charges are separated faster than the material can absorb them, static electricity build ups, and causes a shock, or high voltage.
Nylon carpets, especially older ones, are common conduits for electrostatic shocks. As are thick rubber or plastic soled shoes. Dry air (usually caused by indoor heating in the winter) is also a contributing factor. So, there I was, walking around in a heated and dry house, on an old, nylon carpet, wearing boots with a thick rubber sole. Once I took the boots off, the shocking stopped. Completely.
Please allow me to read your mind once more.
You are now thinking; ‘What the…? Instead of making meatballs, I ordered a pizza, and read through this whole blog post, just hoping to find some evidence that Liz really is a freaky mutant from another planet. And all I got was a cheesy and questionable lesson in grade school physics! Damn. Where the hell is that pizza delivery dude, anyway?’