Breaking Good

maxresdefaultI spend a lot of my time testing things around the house.

I recently mentioned how easily ornaments can be broken – anything as fragile as a vase is just asking to be broken, I mean glass or ceramics are hardly materials I’d choose to stand up to the abuse of day-to-day family life. All I’m usually trying to do is have a look at it and see if it falls into one of the three main categories:

1. Does it light up?

2. Does it play music?

3. Does it taste good?

If none of the above, drop it and move on I say.

Now if it’s a little ceramic model of a cat or a flower girl or something, again, how can I be held to blame? If they’re going to make it look like a toy it’s hardly my fault if it’s not strong enough to be played with, so again, not guilty.

But it seems there’s a bit of a ‘grey area’ with a lot of the other things around the house. For example, when I’m bored I often like to flick the light switches on and off – on and off – on and off – on and off – on and off – on and off – on and off – on and off – on and off – on and off – on and off – on and off – on and off – on and off – on and off – on and off – on and off – on and off – on and off – on and off – on and off – on and off – on and off – on and off – on and off – on and off – on and off – on and off – on and off – on and off – on and off – on and off – on and off – on and off…. I regard this as a public service in seeing how long the bulbs will last, but other people seem to think differently.

It’s the same with doors. I like to open them and slam them shut just to make sure they’re working ok (I once saw a machine doing this to a drawer in a big furniture shop – I could have sat and watched it for hours). Fifty or sixty times is usually a good enough test but in some cases I like to keep going a lot longer just to make sure. Another good test of a door’s strength is to open it all the way and then keep on pushing a bit more so that you can test the hinges as well. With some doors you can’t open them far enough but in a lot of cases the hinges just lever straight out of the wood and you can pull the whole door down. You’d think Smiley would be grateful to me for pointing this out but he seems to get very bad tempered about it. He usually tries to re-mount the door by putting the screws into different parts of the frame but it’s surprising how easily a wooden door frame splits from top to bottom after I’ve tested it a couple of times. I think he really ought to give up and leave the doors off altogether.

You wouldn’t think a radiator was an accident waiting to happen would you? They look innocent enough just sitting there but I’ve found if you pull really hard on the top edge they’ll often pivot away from the wall in a cloud of brick dust. But again, do you think I hear any thanks for my efforts?

That’s another odd thing I don’t understand; if we have all these radiators everywhere, why do we still have the old fireplaces? I had a good look at one of these recently but it was just as hopeless; I pulled this big black metal piece off the bottom, banged it a few times on the hearth to see how strong it was and all the little green tile things just shattered. I couldn’t believe how easily the first few broke so I tried banging a few more and they were all just as flimsy. It’s a good job I pointed this out before someone got hurt.

In fact there are all sorts of potential dangers around the home. Plasterboard walls are surprisingly thin if you lie on your back and try kicking them (which is also a good test for checking the strength of door panels).

Now that I’m a bit taller I’ve found that light fittings often pull away from the ceiling with just a quick tug. But don’t go away with the idea that I’m super-strong, I pulled the letterbox flap off the door the other day with hardly any effort at all.

And don’t get me started on mirrors and picture frames – did you know that they’re usually only held in place by one or two screws and a bit of string? Madness!

Honestly, you take your life into your hands every time you walk around the house. I’ve heard people saying that most accidents happen at home and with the standard of shoddy workmanship I see in most people’s houses I’m not at all surprised.


2 thoughts on “Breaking Good

  1. My son ripped his wooden toddler bed apart, has pulled hinges out of doors, loves the on-off switches and the open-close of doors.

    Now, I know. He’s practicing for his job as a building inspector. Makes sense now!

    • Excellent stuff Kathy, he’s obviously destined for great things. I once saw a documentary about Special Needs teenagers in India being issued with sledgehammers and given the job of breaking up old fridges. Come to think of it that’s a job I’d rather like.

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