Lights out!

One Saturday before Christmas, Richard attempted to put up a year old, pre-lit, artificial Christmas tree. In fact, such innovations are not “pre-lit” at all, they are, as this story clearly demonstrates, merely pre-strung with lights that optimists believe will come on when the thing is plugged in! Tree assembly and artful branch arranging was uneventful but the lighting ceremony was a disappointment – lights at the top and middle, but a large expanse of gloom and doom at the bottom. Richard began the diagnostic procedures having assembled the necessary (in his opinion) instruments - (1) beer (2) a fuse tester (3) non-contact voltage detector (4) another beer (5) screwdriver (6) spare bulbs and fuses and (7) one last beer. With much fumbling and getting poked in the eye with branches, the fuses were replaced – no lights. The high tech voltage detector was used to trace the circuit – darkness. With some loss of sensation in his fingertips, Richard began systematically replacing unlit bulbs with new ones – blackness. Unlit bulbs were jiggled around to help ensure electrical contact with their socket, and Milo, one of the family pet mutts, assisted with some additional powerful jiggling – the bleak midwinter of the lower branches persisted.

The human brow was scratched while Milo and Beckley engaged in their own unique brand of scratching. The human thoughtfully quaffed beer while dogs stared expectantly at the tree as only they can -it’s wise not to visualise what the dogs are thinking at this point!

A long times passes, and the beer begins to do it’s work….

Some amateur electricians are great, some have greatness thrust upon them, and others are painfully slow coming to the realisation that electrical appliances in general, and Christmas tree lights in particular, work so much better when the plug for the offending string of lights is actually plugged into an outlet!

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