Mark Heard - Electro Man!!!

They gave Mark the list of wires never to touch together, or get his self between, and sent him into the fray.

Mark soon had a long list of other things not to do, increasing at the rate of at least one a week, and once at better than one per day for over a week.

BBBZZZTTTTT! "Oww! Hey, you never told me the box is grounded!"

Mark used to wait until there was a big backlog, then insist I help him, since I knew about "all that electrical stuff". After a while, we decided he'd build & I'd test. Mark was much happier that way.

In Spinks Company's usual penny pinching style, they had one extension cord long enough to reach from one end of the factory to the other (maybe 200 feet), with dual plugs and receptacles on each end, so it could be used for both 110 and 220 volts.

Obviously, not simultaneously.

Obviously, this was a disaster waiting to happen.

And obviously, Mark was involved. Mark had walked to the far end of the building to plug the cord into a 110 volt outlet, since there were no available outlets where he was working. Before he got back to his work area, someone who had been at the far end had just checked to see if he could use the cord for 220 volts. Naturally they passed in the middle. On opposite sides of a wall. Mark plugged in his Black & Decker 110 volt drill.

Nothing happened. "What's wrong here?" He jiggled the cord and tried again. Of course, this was the time Ronnie was switching plugs on the other end.

Mark flicked the trigger.

The drill spun.

Mark pulled down his goggles, and pulled the trigger all the way. The drill spun up, moving instantly from the throaty cry of a medium duty drill ready to rip some wood or steel out of something, through the wail of a banshee being banished to Hell, through the screams of an over-revving Rolls-Royce Merlin engine with a turbocharger gone amuck as its plane dives full speed into the ground, ripping itself to shreds.

Which is what the drill did. The side motor cases went sideways, and the armature (with chuck and bit firmly attached) shot away from Mark at warp factor 10, missing someone's head by about 2 feet, bounced off the cinder clock wall (gouging a neat hole in a block), danced across some brand new 1x4s, leaving little mincing footsteps deeply embedded in the woodgrain, and rocketed across the room to rattle to a stop in a freshly painted chicken feeder hopper.

How can I describe Mark's reaction? It involved dancing, screaming, jumping, slinging, stunned quiet, and incredibly lyrical invective. We were all in awe for a good 5 seconds before we started rolling on the floor laughing.

Mark took the rest of the afternoon off from electrical work.

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Last updated: 07 September 1999

Copyright 1994 Miles O'Neal, Austin, TX. All rights reserved.

Miles O'Neal <> [remove the "XYZZY." to make things work!] c/o RNN / 1705 Oak Forest Dr / Round Rock, TX / 78681-1514