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Smarts can come in short supply

POSTED: November 16, 2008 1:00 a.m.

Sometimes, you just have to wonder what people are thinking when they do really stupid stuff.

A man over in the western portion of our state decided to steal some electric wire belonging to the Georgia Power Co. Unfortunately, he thought that the lines were not energized. They were. No charges were filed because it is difficult to file charges against a dead man.

I'm sure his last words were something poignant, like "I know it's off; hand me those wire cutters."

Then comes the story of a man in Coweta County who decided to use a blow torch to remove some cobwebs from the eaves of his house. The fire chief who investigated suggested that a blow torch is not recommended for cobweb removal. The fire damage was contained to just one end of the house.

For some people, doing stupid things is a regular occurrence. For others, the loss of presence of mind is a temporary condition. I have suffered, at times, from the latter.

I have been convinced on more than one occasion of my ability to use a pickup truck and a log chain to move something, often another vehicle. There is something that happens that convinces you that pulling just a little more could get that other car out of the mud. By the way, wrecker companies don't charge as much per vehicle when you have two stuck in the same mud hole.

There have been several events in my life involving a sledge hammer. The most memorable involved trying to hammer a metal spike into something. It takes no degree of bravery to attempt this, unless you are the person selected to hold the spike. The use of your arm can be regained after a period of recuperation and a small amount of physical therapy.

There are warning signs that are often posted that make you wonder if someone actually attempted a certain feat.

There is a rendering plant in Forsyth County where the leftover parts from chicken processing are taken. The trucks that haul that stuff have stickers on them that say "Inedible."

If someone mistook that truck for the lunch wagon, boy did he get a surprise.

I have made several unsuccessful experiments in life that involved an attempt to use duct tape, super glue, a coat hanger, a 2-by-4 or several combinations involving some or all of the aforementioned items to make some type of temporary repair. The operative word here is temporary.

Several loops made with a wire coat hanger or several rounds of duct tape will convince you that two items can be joined with an incredible degree of permanency.

Think again.

But I was raised with enough sense to understand that stealing electric wire is against the law. Trying to steal live electric wire is just plain stupid.

I'm also cognizant of the potential danger of using a blow torch to remove cobwebs. I can assure you that the cost of a broom, even a broom with a really long handle, is cheaper than the deductible on that guy's homeowners insurance policy.

I'm betting that they show the pictures from that one at the fire chiefs convention next year.

Harris Blackwood is community editor of The Times. His columns appear Sundays and only in the print edition on Wednesdays.



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