Living Retired — ‘Electric Hedge Trimmer IS Shear Madness’
Living Retired — ‘Electric Hedge Trimmer Is Shear Madness’
By Gary Chalk.
Our recent lovely autumn weather provided an opportunity for me to complete the fall yard work.
“Jan, I am going to the garage to get the electric hedge trimmer to cut back the hostas in the gardens.”
“Okay Gary, I’ll go to the bathroom and get a tourniquet from the first aide kit.”
Minutes later I was standing on the driveway. At my feet was a 100-foot-long outdoor extension cord in a tangled blob. Grey duct tape was wrapped at three separate places where I have accidentally sliced the extension cord in half — so is that thirds?
I plugged the hedge trimmer to the extension cord and attached the cord to a wall outlet in the garage. Then, I made my way — tripping only twice over the cord! — to the front gardens.
That is when it happened…
The extension cord had been stored in the garage and the cool autumn nights made it stiff. This meant I couldn’t maneuver the hedge trimmer very well. All of a sudden ‘PUFF!’ Sparks flew! Yikes. I sheared the cord in half, again! My loyal Black & Decker electric hedge trimmer couldn’t, well, cut it anymore. Just like that my hedge trimmer departed to hedge trimmer heaven.
Jan called from the front door. “Gary, did we blow a fuse? The lights in my office went out.”
Later that afternoon…
I returned from the hardware store with a shiny new electric hedge trimmer. I decided to show my new boy toy to Jan. So first, I slipped a black hoodie on. Then I pulled my old winter hockey toque down over my eyes and put on dark sunglasses. I was ready…
Brandishing my new hedge trimmer in my hands I menacingly walked in to Jans office. When she looked up from her computer it scared the bejeebers out of her!
“Gary don’t you ever, ever, EVER do that to me again!”
Jan has a rule in our house — well, two rules if you include when I tell her I am doing the laundry and she says, “Gary, don’t go anywhere near mine!” Jan insists that any item I purchase that 1) operates on electricity or gasoline, or 2) has moving parts, or 3) sharp blades, or 4) requires protective eye ware, safety gloves, and proper footwear, or 5) has large letters on the box ‘Unpack Before Using’ and ‘Do Not Operate Without Adult Supervision’ she says I must read the instruction booklet before I am allowed to use it. Full stop.
I have the owner’s manual here at my desk as I write this column — it is the ‘War and Peace’ of electric hedge trimmer manuals with a whopping 18 pages! And, it is divided into 20 chapters!
“Jan, I have an idea. I will read the chapters on ‘Know Your Hedge Trimmer,’ ‘Assembly,’ ‘Connecting to Power Supply,’ ‘Grounding Instructions,’ Maintenance,’ and ‘Starting & Stopping the Hedge Trimmer.’ Jan, you read the chapters called ‘Important Safety Instructions,’ and ‘Specific Safety Instructions.’”
“Gary, you’re describing the divide and conquer algorithm design paradigm which recursively breaks down a problem into two or more sub-problems of the same or related type until these become simple enough to be solved directly. It was part of my computer science studies at university.”
“Jan its a friggin’ electric hedge trimmer owner’s manual!”
Later that afternoon my electric hedge clipper and I were best buddies. It was working like a charm. My cellphone rang.
RING. RING. RING.
“Gary, I am down — base — electr — hed — tri — wor —.”
RING. RING. RING.
“Sorry Gary, I was calling on my cellphone from the basement. I asked how the new electric hedge trimmer is working?”
“Sorry Jan. You cut out.”
“GARY. ALL I HEARD WAS YOU SAID YOU CUT YOURSELF?! WAIT THERE! I’LL GET THE TOURNIQUET!”
Living Retired is written by humour columnist Gary Chalk.
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