Loyal readers know that here at Pecked To Death By Chickens, we identify life’s minor annoyances and try to diminish them (with some humor thrown in). My latest minor annoyance is the static electricity and all the shocking going on in my house during these dry winter months. I myself could care less and barely notice it most of the time, but my two kids and husband are living in fear, which makes it my problem.
You may not be aware that there are 3 known types of people when it comes to static electricity shocks:
The Oblivious Shocker -This person scuffles through life in their wool coat and rubber soled slippers kicking up sparks everywhere they go. The OS is typically resistant to any shock pain and tends to shock and be shocked with great regularity and little notice. These are my people.
The Common Sense Shocker – The CSS has a good head on her shoulders. She is aware of potential shock danger and avoids it, but doesn’t arrange her entire schedule around having to touch a car door, and can appreciate the tiny fireworks from the fluffing of a Velux blanket in a dark room. My children show signs of being CSSs, however, since they don’t reach shock maturity until about age 6 or 7, the jury is still out.
The Shock Baby – This individual lives the winter months in fear of touching and being touched. He swats at items attempting to ‘ground’ himself before any potential interactions with the Oblivious Shocker. The SB blames others for all shocks incurred and steers clear of fleece– the deadly fabric. A close brush with a tinsel-loaded Christmas tree could mean a code red incident for this, the wussiest of all the shock classifications. This would be my husband.
I have done some research to better understand my options for decreasing shock drama in my home and here are my serious and not so serious suggestions.
1. Footwear – Avoid rubber-soled shoes and wool socks and choose cotton socks or leather soled shoes instead. Check.
2. Humidify – Use a humidifier to keep the relative humidity in your house to at least 30% (ideally 40-50%). One suggestion I read was to put out pans of water over the floor vents to act as a Macgyver’ed humidifier if you don’t have one. I’m pretty sure that when they see that, my kids will just think I’ve finally decided to let them drink out of dog dishes like they have always wanted — an interesting concept nonetheless.
3. Thoughtful Touching – I realize that this one sounds like something creepy from an 8th grade health class lesson, but what I’m getting at here is that there is something about touching things with your fingertips (touch receptors blah-blah-blah) that makes shocks worse than when you touch with other parts of your body. It is suggested that you use the back of your hand to touch an object first and then grab it with your hand.
4. Devices – There are actually devices for sale that help the Shock Baby with static electricity such as an anti-static keychain that you touch to metal objects to protect yourself from being shocked. The description is full of phrases like ‘static discharging’ and ‘absorption of ultra high pressure electrostatic’ that are making me picture a scene from The Hurt Locker. Dude, it’s a keychain for wimps. Another option is some sort of wristband that is technically meant for people working on the inards of a computer, so they won’t fry it. Here is part of the description: … provides reliable static control and 360-degree protection–a simple but important safeguard against computer-killing static electricity. Just slip it around your wrist and affix its rugged alligator clip to any bare metal surface…”. So this is a bracelet for technology wimps. Don’t let the ‘rugged alligator clip’ fool you.
I found some other suggestions, but I had to discard them. One started out with “I often get shocked with pretty big bolts that light up the room at night.” and I just stopped reading. That guy’s wife needs to scoot across the carpet in a fleece Slanket and some wool footies and touch his ear immediately. There was also the guy who said “I used an empty soda can, which I would use to touch a metal surface before going into my cubicle. You could hear a very loud spark, but I wouldn’t feel anything.”. Can you imagine sharing a cubicle with this guy? Just think, if he touches that metal with the can at just the right moment in time, he could end up back in 1955 looking for a flux capacitor and enough gigawatts to get home.
I hope I have offered some helpful ideas for those of you who have shock issues. Personally I am going to try cotton socks, touching my husband only with the back of my hand, and maybe for Valentines day I will get him some sort of static device that’s one step below full-on Shock Baby head gear. (Note to self: next post should chronicle the impact of static on romantic encounters.)