Random Asides

‘Kay, I’m static. Big deal.

Hot on the heels of the startling realisation that I’m psychic, I have now discovered another incredible and previously-considered-physically-impossible superpower. I am static, and not gently so. Dear reader, don’t be scared when I tell you that I’m so static, I can break roller coasters.

First, though, I want you to consider the case of this poor grandmother, who claims that she generates so much static electricity, she breaks her household appliances. Despite the fact that it’s highly, highly improbable that such a thing is possible, Mavis (yes really) claims “I’ve gone through kettles, vacuum cleaners, irons. A few people have suggested that I go to the doctors about it, but I don’t know what good it would do if I went.”

It wouldn’t do any good, Mavis, because you’ve already made up your mind. Which brings us neatly to my own recently-discovered ability! I have Mavis beat, so much so that if there was an award for ‘Most Static Woman in England Who Can Break Stuff, Honest’, then I’d be ripping the award from her pudgy little fingers while she cries into her spotted dick.

This weekend we went to Legoland in Windsor, for a laugh and also because I wanted to kidnap a child for evil experiments and it seemed like a good place to find one (that’s possibly not true. Disneyland Paris has far more kids). Anyway, I was walking past one of the rollercoasters, considering whether or not to brave its heights, when it ground to a halt! I’ve always wanted to see people stranded on a fairground ride (I told you I was evil), but it didn’t occur to me that I might be the source of the problem, until…

The next day (yesterday in my time), we were in the centre of London to see a play (this one), and had some time to kill. We were ambling past the great big massive whopping ginormous London Eye, the famous tourist attraction and world’s largest cantilevered observation wheel, when it broke. This has never happened before.

The odds of this happening twice in a weekend by chance, just as I’m walking past, are mental*. Therefore, I did it. Keep me away from Mavis, if we’re ever in the same room we’re liable to spontaneously combust.

*mental = any number too large for me to calculate, which is any number greater than eleven.

Related Articles

18 Comments

  1. I agree, serious congratulations are in order for busting the London Eye.

    I don’t know if it’s related to static or not, but I had a friend in college who was convinced that I emitted an electrical field that affected computers. I really didn’t use them for anything other than Word documents, and since this was the olden days when you had to go to the campus computer lab to use a computer instead of having your own, I became somewhat legendary among the computer lab workers. My friend who worked there got to where he would just sigh whenever I raised my hand, because it meant that the computer would be doing something he had never seen a computer do before.

    My all-time best was producing purple and black zigzag lines on the monitor by trying to open Word. The computer had to be shut down and restarted.

    I’d have been up for scientific experiments to quantify it, but I don’t think he was willing to ruin that many computers.

  2. I know!! Seriously though, is anyone who is good with probability here? Cause I want to know the actual odds of two major attractions breaking while I’m present.

    If no-one gives me sensible odds, I’m sticking with the static theory. Sticking…geddit?

  3. Hey, Bee! I had that power in college, too! I could walk into a room, and the computers would surge and frizz out.

    Of course, these were really OLD 1980’s computers. So maybe they weren’t insulated properly….

  4. First, though, I want you to consider the case of this poor grandmother, who claims that she generates so much static electricity, she breaks her household appliances. Despite the fact that it’s highly, highly improbable that such a thing is possible

    I hate to make myself look bad in your eyes, because I just joined and you don’t know me, but I don’t doubt her. I’ve had issues my entire life. Can’t wear a regular watch (my grandfather was the same way). My kids would not let me touch the Nintendo in the 80s if I was in a stressed out mood because it would be weirded out for a while. My previous boyfriend made me were a ground leash (anti-static bracelet, leash just sounds cooler) when I was in his computer room.

    I even had trouble getting my old Ford to start [insert fav Ford joke]. Seriously!! My best friend did not believe me either. But one day I needed to get somewhere and the car would not start. I got out and was standing there crying and she got in and it started fine. So I turned it off and tried again. Would not start. She got back in and it started up just fine.

    I have no scientific explanation for this. It has been less severe as I’ve aged . . or electronics are sturdier. But I still occasionally have days when I discharge static constantly at the touch of any metal. If it’s been long enough, just walking by my motion sensor in my office causes me to discharge and turns off the light.

    Please don’t ridicule me too hard. :(

  5. Maybe with the grandmother, there’s just some incompetent/unlucky person trying to get rid of her, and/or some practical joker exploiting an expectation of device failure?

    I’m interested that she ‘first noticed the problem in the 1950s’ if she’s only 60 in 2008. Must have been a pretty precocious technical jinx.

    Seriously, though, if someone is expecting electrical equipment to fail, it’s possible that they plug items in too gingerly, which could result in a very ‘dirty’ initial connection. With at least some kinds of devices, that has the potential to do them some damage.

    Regarding tkingdoll’s question re: probability or improbability, when it comes to a series of coincidences happening in the vicinity of someone, unless they was starting off with some particular prior expectation of the first event happening, it’s maybe best discounting the probability of the first event since if only the first event had happened, it would likely have been forgotten, or at least given little significance.

    In terms of the probability of the coincidence of the roller coaster and wheel failing, there were lots of people near the roller coaster who have probably given it little thought.
    In a way, it’s only a sensitiser for the actual coincidence of the second event.

  6. Ehh, we won’t ridicule you, just subject you to a series of rigorous tests so we can verify your claims. ;)

    Oh, w00t I’m all about rigorous testing!!! Will it involve chocolate, men or good beer? ;) Maybe we could get two or three 40 something fan-boys to rub me with cashmere until I glow.

    ::smacks self:: Ahem, sorry. It’s spring.

  7. Oh, w00t I’m all about rigorous testing!!! Will it involve chocolate, men or good beer? Maybe we could get two or three 40 something fan-boys to rub me with cashmere until I glow.

    *snicker* Sounds like a good way to spend a weekend to me! ;)

Leave a Reply

You May Also Enjoy

Close
Close