I know you can sympathize . . .
When I was a kid, we had two strings of lights on the Christmas tree.
One string had the big, bright bulbs that were so hot they'd raise a
blister if you touched them. I don't know how we managed to use them
all those years without burning the house down. The other string had
those little miniature screw-in bulbs wired in series. If one went
out, they all went out. But it was fairly easy to go from bulb to bulb
until you found the bad one. There were only 25 bulbs on the string.
We used those two strings of lights for at least 15 years until times
Yesterday, we got the lights down out of the attic. You know the kind
I'm talking about; the ones with all the little dangly ends that hang
down like ice-sickles from the roof, and wrap themselves all around
each other when you try to untangle them. Now, I've been down this
trail before, so of course we stretched the lights out in the yard to
be sure they work before putting them on the house.
Now somebody in the Christmas light manufacturing industry must have
stayed up nights to get the design of these things just right. They
never fail to work right out of the box. They almost always make it
through the rough handling required to untangle them and get them up
the ladder and attached to the roof. Most of them live through the
month or so that they remail lit through the Christmas season. Yet
they up and die when packed away for a year. That had to take some
doing, but they got it right.
I know they were all working when I put them away last year. Who would
pack away dead Christmas lights? Yet fully 3/4 of the strings are
either completely dead, or have long dark stretches. Each pack of
lights comes with a few spare bulbs. But that's just to make you think
they care. First, you can't get the old bulb out, and then you can't
get the new bulb in. Besides, who wants to change out 300 bulbs, with
no guarantee of success, when a new string of lights costs six dollars?
Surely you've been there . . . I immediately got disgusted and headed
out to the Borg. Eighty bucks buys fourteen strings of lights at three
hundred lights to the string ; that's four thousand two hundred little
glimmers of Christmas cheer - only mine is all gone now.
Until Next Year . . .
"The cheapest things in life are free."