Five-Minute Job

One of the two fluorescent light bulbs in the workshop light fixture came loose and dropped three inches onto the opaque shade.

Nothing broke.

But the bulbs work only in pairs; when one goes out, so does the other.

The four-foot long tube-shaped bulbs have a pair of pins at either end. Installing one – if you don’t mind the use of such a Grand Term – is relatively easy.

Sounds like the beginning of an ethnic joke, right?

Hold the tube level and parallel with the appliance’s base, simultaneously insert one pin at either end of the tube into the fixture, gently roll the entire tube so it locks into place.


Confused? There’s probably a YouTube video to help out.

Of course at my house, nothing is easy and absolutely nothing takes five minutes. Ever.

The undamaged, barely used, near mint condition fluorescent tube lay motionless on the opaque shade that’s part of a dropped ceiling.

To remove the opaque shade, one must push the 2’ x 4’ plastic piece up, as a single sheet, and then over and onto an adjacent ceiling tile.

This is also easy to do.

However, while one is doing the shade moving, the round fluorescent bulb, which prefers motion to stasis, is motivated by the movement of the shade to begin its own movement, and the tube’s shape facilitates ever-increasing velocity.

Which is why the bulb drops, in ultra slow motion, from its position on top of the shade to the floor. A distance of seven-plus feet.

At this juncture, I point out that the scientific term “nano” was specifically invented to describe the thickness of the white colored glass that runs between the tube’s sturdy metal ends. The glass is thinner than a gnat’s eyelash. I do not exaggerate.

A sigh of relief is emitted as the bulb lands on its metal end, where the pair of pins is located.

It’s a momentary sigh.

Then the glass tube shatters into nearly a million pieces. All over the place.

And that’s why changing a light bulb goes from maybe a five-minute job to a 30-minute test of patience. Not to mention a durability test for vacuum cleaner bags.

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