Public Service Announcement: Things Not to Do
Don’t carry batteries in your pocket.
This evening, I was stretched out on my recliner, enjoying a little light reading, when I smelled something odd—an odor of burning, and a faint chemical reek. I looked around and saw nothing, but the odor was getting stronger. I set my book aside, looked down, and saw something no man likes to see: tendrils of smoke rising from my fly. Then, I felt searing pain from my thigh. I jumped up and danced around (to the amusement of my daughter), and frantically tried to fish all the loose change out of my pocket. The coins were flaming hot. I was caught in the dilemma of letting my leg burn, or burning my hands trying to get these things out. I ended up throwing sizzling bits of money around the room.
I had tossed a couple of spare NiMH AA batteries in my pocket earlier, when I was out doing some photography. A pair of them had apparently jostled into exactly the right configuration to short out against the coins in my pocket, leading to the surprisingly rapid and intense generation of heat.
I don’t think I’ll carry batteries that way anymore. I now have the imprint of a pair of quarters scorched into my palm, and feel a bit like Belzig, the fat sadistic Nazi from Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark. And my kids are laughing at me for dancing around with my pants on fire.
And now I tell you this cautionary tale, O Gentle Reader, to spare you the humiliation of repeating my error. See how much I care?
Whether I’m admitting this to make Orac feel a little less alone, or whether it’s because I have reason to worry that he might be about to do the same thing and needs a warning, is left to the interpretations of the reader. You may also argue among yourselves which of us is more foolish.
I posted that about two years ago, and I’m pleased to say that I haven’t carried batteries in my pockets since. See? I can still learn! It’s so much more sensible and safer to stick them up your nose.