The Gray Bunny (graybunny) wrote,
The Gray Bunny

The Saga of Blinky

Having the compact fluorescent burn out last night reminded me of Blinky, so I will tell you his story.

Years ago, before I ever started this journal, I lived in a rented house with a housemate. It was a split-level house and over the staircases at the entryway hung a large lamp, which was a single bulb inside a huge white glass sphere a foot or more in diameter. We quickly discovered that changing the bulb was a miserable experience. The lamp was suspended high in the air. I'm not good with heights, but I was the only one who could reach it even with the ladder we had. So, besides the thrill of juggling this large, highly breakable globe in midair with one hand — there wasn't any place to put it down, of course — while trying to change the bulb, I was also traumatized by the height.

The second time the bulb burned out, we decided that a change of strategy was in order. Early compact fluorescents were available, and they promised long life. The idea of changing the bulb once more and then never again (well, not for years, anyway) was very appealing, despite the expense. Hence, we procured such a bulb, and I once again braved the ladder and installed it.

It wasn't long thereafter that we were very disappointed, because the bulb seemed to have failed already. Having just changed it, we were in no hurry to do it again, so we just left it there. Not much longer after that, one or the other of us flipped the switch out of habit, and there was light again! And then there was darkness some time after that. It only took us a few rounds to realize that the bulb was trapped in an unvented sphere and probably had a thermal cutout of some sort. We dubbed it Blinky.

We were in general careful about not leaving Blinky on for too long, but sometimes we forgot and did and then discovered him on in the middle of the night after he'd had a chance to cool down. Despite this abuse, Blinky served us loyally, if somewhat erratically, for years. He was still on the job when we had to move out.
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