Tuesday, October 14, 2014

My Last Light Bulb

To see a World in a Grain of Sand
And a Heaven in a Wild Flower,
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand 
And Eternity in an hour.

William Blake may have seen a world in a grain of sand, but I have seen my capital M mortality in a light bulb.  

They don't make them like they used to, which is a very good thing, since the last light bulb in that fixture had separated into two parts while I wasn't looking :  metal ring wedged into the socket and glass bulb dropped to the floor and rolled under the bed.  So, off to Home Depot, where we sprang for the LED bulb.  Since the eyesight, does in fact, grow dim with age, we figured the price was right for the brighter light and for the fact that it should last longer than its predecessor.

Turns out that sucker will last longer than its purchasers.

Some are Born to sweet delight,/Some are Born to Endless Night.
But not if you install an LED light.

According to the package, at a usage of a mere three hours a day, it should last 22.2 years.

Hmm-mm--mm.  I will probably have been carted off to my semi-final (and as yet undetermined) resting place by then.

But this light fixture is in use only half the year, so that brings its life span to 44.4 years.

I will definitely have been carted off to my final resting place (an ash plot in Mount Auburn cemetery) by January 2059.

It gets more dramatic.  This light is on no more than a half an hour a day, which brings it's life span to an astonishing, and sobering, 132.2 years.

The house may not be standing by then, although it was solidly built 133 years ago and has a new roof.  Even if the house is abandoned in the great flood of the next century, the light bulb will be worth salvaging, unless the grid has collapsed and the residents of my leafy suburb have regressed to a state of feral paleolithicity.

I have just had a birthday, and as the years pile up, I have more and more thoughts about lost possibilities, last-time events, and the disposition of valuables.  But I never expected those thoughts, bitter or sweet,  to be triggered by a light bulb. 


Maureen Rogers said...

Similar to when you buy a box of staples and see that there are 5,000 in the box. Hmmmm. If I use an average of 5 staples a month, which sounds about right, that box will last me over 80 years. Hmmmm.

Ellen said...

My mother's friend just bought a box of 200 trash bags. That should leave a few left over for her kids, when they empty her condo.

Kathleen Rogers said...

When my mother-in-law moved out of her house, we snagged about three years' supply of baggies.