Dust


It may only be an urban legend that a US servicemember working with a powerful military antenna array in Alaska turned to dust after walking in front of an active radar dish and his Zippo lighter was all that survived the ordeal.

Real or not, thank goodness, the lesson I learned yesterday, that the wand that comes with Swiffer wipes is there for a reason, was not half as deadly. It was so painful that I nearly named this piece “Man Nearly Killed by Swiffer Duster.”

No sense in exaggerating.

Seeing dust in and about the equipment, I began cleaning. That is what I was doing when I got one of the worst static discharges in my life.

It came in the form of a brilliant yellow-white flash, followed by a loud crackle and a jolt of painful electricity. It left me weak, trembling, and needing to sit down.

Surprisingly, I did not launch into a tirade of vituperations that would have melted the paint from the studio walls.

Worse yet, it shut down the two computers and the three screens in the office. While I had the passwords and such to restart them, one would not reboot.

Fortune smiled as our station engineer Daniel stopped by drop off some paperwork. Like most engineers, he quickly found the trouble — the keyboard — zapped to the point it froze.

A simple re-reboot of the system and the keyboard came back to life, and the computer lit up. Crisis averted.

I’ve also heard that dust particles contain cremated remains and that the urban legend is true. Either way, I ain’t dusting no more.

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