Tuesday, March 15, 2005

I'm with Stupid.

Just to keep up with the stupid things I've done theme...

When I was about 15, the fad in the neighborhood between the teenagers was to get and talk on a Citizens Band (CB) radio. Remember those? This was in 1988, so the 1970's CB fad was over, but it was before cell phones, and it was quite handy to have a CB in your car. That way, you could keep up with your friends and find out where the fun was on a Saturday night. Or, if you had one in your bedroom, several friends could talk together on a school night when none of us were permitted to go out.

My parents were out of town, and I wanted a CB in my room (I didn't have a car yet). So, I had the brilliant idea that I would set it up, complete with an antenna on the roof of the house, BEFORE my parents got home. I mean, after all, they aren't going to make me take it down once it was up there, are they?

So, a couple of my friends came over to help me with the task. We found an old CB somewhere from the 70's that someone's dad didn't want anymore. We got the coaxial cable, we even went down to the local truck stop and got an antenna. We found my dad's huge ladder, climbed on the roof, screwed the antenna to the peak of the house (after all the highest point is the best spot for reception, right?), strung the cable inconspicuously down the side of the house and through my window.

My parents came home the next day and didn't see it. They did see the CB in my room, but I think they assumed I had an antenna somewhere in there, not the roof of the house. I hid it well.

Not only was this experience a boost to my social life, but it was also a lesson in physics. You see, I learned that if you put an antenna on the peak of your house, the highest point, you are supposed to GROUND it also, so it doesn't get struck by lightning. Oops.

Living in the plains of Central Texas at the time, we got a lot of lightning storms. And it just so happens we got one a day or two after I installed the thing. And, as lightning does, it hit the tallest structure which happened to be the antenna that I carefully bolted to the peak of the house but didn't ground. And the lightning went through the house, and hit my CB radio, the refrigerator, our TV's, several lighting fixtures, and several other minor electrical equipment that we had plugged in. And destroyed them with a HUGE BANG. (We were really lucky that the house didn't catch fire).

And when my dad figured it all out he was mad. And I got another lesson about "grounding". So much for improving my social life.

Question: Were you ever grounded as a kid, or did your parents have more original ways of punishment? Do you ground your kids or do you have a more original way of punishing?

1 comment:

Lino Kosters said...

Golden lessons learned from the topmost point of the roof. Why not? Heh, you were 15 then, so how were you able to know a thing or two about the bigger details? But yeah, it was fun while it lasted… until that lightning struck. The next time you get to your roof, you may want to hang out a bit and check some interesting stuff up there.