Monday, October 18, 2010

I just broke a cfl bulb!!!

Now I’ve done it.

After living a good, clean life for nearly six decades I’ve thrown it all away. Well, I didn’t throw it, exactly, I just knocked it off the kitchen counter onto the floor. It shattered on impact.

The warning on the bulb’s housing read:  CONTAINS DANGEROUS MERCURY POISONING. DISPOSE ACCORDING TO LOCAL, STATE AND FEDERAL LAWS.

Yes, of course I panicked! My eight-year-old grandson came running in to see what happened.
“Did it break?”

“GET OUT!” I shouted, “STAY BACK!!”

It scared him. He ran into the dining room.

“IT’S DANGEROUS!!” I said, my grandfatherly tone of assurance stripped from me like a catfish shorn of its skin by a pair of pliers.

“WHY??” he asked. “WILL I DIE?”

I’m not making this up. Every word is true.

“No,” I said, grasping for a sense of experienced, calming leadership. Even as I said it I wondered if the dread mercury poisoning had already found its way into my lungs and blood stream. Is it wafting through the air to my boy? Are our Yorkie and Papillon about to keel over in horrifying death throes?

“Will YOU die?” He sounded slightly less worried, here.

“No. I don’t know. NO! Nobody is going to die.” I said it with authority. I just didn’t quite believe it. “Keeps the dogs out of here.”

And then, because I don’t know any better, I did what I’ve done throughout my nearly sixty years of life whenever I’ve dropped a lightbulb. I grabbed a broom and a dustpan and cleaned the damned thing up.
Oh, did I mention — these cfl wonders are supposed to last fifteen years or more? And this one burned out a year, maybe sixteen months ago?

I tossed it in the trash with the junk mail and spent soup cans. I took it out to the big rubber bin in the back yard, the one that will be picked up by an unsuspecting civil refuse engineer tomorrow morning. Off it goes — my poisonous contribution to the destruction of our environment, Mother Earth; of all things holy.

That was an hour ago. We’re fine so far. The dogs are fine.

I’m cooking dinner in that room.

But, still sporting a trifle bit of concern I checked it out thoroughly on the Internet on several websites. Get this…

One cfl light bulb contains roughly 1/125th the amount of mercury of the old mercury thermometers our moms frequently stuck in our mouths and up our infant rectums.
1/125th.

George Bush signed the mandate into law. Otherwise, I mostly liked him. 

The greenies are still ecstatic. Ace Hardware is stocked to the rafters with cfl bulbs and have doubled the price of old, incandescent bulbs. In a year, all we’ll have are the screwy ones. It will be illegal, by federal law, to manufacture, sell or purchase good old Tom Edison light bulbs.

(Which, by the way, are much brighter and whiter in our bathroom.)

Incidentally, in case you care, the cfl bulbs are made in China.

You can mount protests and carry signs and raise hell, maybe start the Clean Light Party. I don’t know.
I’m just gonna keep a broom handy.

And a bottle of wine.

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