There’s so much I love about Shawn, but she retains mysteries that scare me, with a respectful fear of course. One is the simple fact that our bodies operate at different electrical potentials. During the dry months of fall and winter the difference becomes a hazard.



I am certain there are permanent defects in my brain caused by the painful injection of electrical charges. Over the decades of our togetherness the damage has accumulated into a significant contributor to my forgetfulness. Shawn seems unfazed by the phenomenon and continues to generate sparks.

Finger Tips

We deploy a humidifier in the cooler months to offset the dry air generated by heating. I know it’s time to activate the humidifier when I receive my first heart-stopping zap. During winter months I shake hands before kissing which seems polite anyway. I attempt to maintain skin contact with the car frame as I help Shawn in or out. We share frequent high-five’s to equalize our charges. I keep a can of spray that reduces static on contact, and I douse the couch regularly. All of these precautions help, but the hazard persists.

Recently she got me from afar.



Shawn read on the Internet or somewhere that wool balls are a renewable method of softening clothes in the dryer. She phased out our supply of Downy, used the last of the Bounce sheets, and moved us into the world of green. If something appears on the Internet it must be true, right?

The balls never stay in the dryer. They find hiding places in pillow cases, inside the legs of jeans, and tucked away in the sleeves of shirts. I pass the time with a game where I attempt to bounce the loose balls off the wall with a ricochet off the dryer door followed by a hook back into the drum. So far I am 2 for 231 but anything’s easier when I make a game of it. Well, anything except for folding bras and fitted sheets. Life’s too short to become an expert at everything.

One cool morning I pulled sheets from the dryer and heard the unmistakable crackle of static. If one can hear the crackle one is about to experience an electron thrill. The tumbling wool balls coupled with dry air had created a deadly potential difference, and my terrorized jeans hugged my legs in fear of what might happen. My survival plan was to finish retrieving the clothes then slap the top of the dryer to restore equilibrium. Discharging rapidly over a greater surface area reduces the pain. We all learned that long ago when we shuffled our feet across the carpet at church, stealthily approached a victim, and touched an unsuspecting ear with an index finger.

A dryer ball bounced from the fitted sheet and ambled across the floor. I bent to retrieve the ball and return it to the dryer. My posterior inched closer to the dryer door, too close in fact. The sneaky electrons found an escape path. The resounding crack…of electricity I mean…brought me to an upright and locked position as I busted out with a new dance move.

There’s nothing like getting zapped in the keister while doing a good deed. But don’t let the fear of pain stop your good deed doing. Someone near you is overwhelmed and could benefit from your kindness.

Go ahead. It only hurts for a while.