Opinion: Watt a waste of energy


I hate going shopping for my wife. I don’t mean searching for a gift; I’m talking about running an errand. I never find exactly what she wants, and I can’t even get milk right.

“Dick, you know I drink almond milk, unsweetened, and organic,” she said. “You got dairy, not almond, and unless I’m color blind, this looks like chocolate milk to me.”

If you see a guy in Kroger speaking with his wife on his cell, it’s because he has no idea where the tahini is — or what it is.

Last week, Mary Ellen wanted me to go to the hardware store to get some light bulbs for our kitchen. I said, “I’m not going back to the store four times. Tell me exactly what kind of bulbs you want.

“OK, I’ll text it to you.”

Here’s the message I got:

Diameter: 1.88 inches

Base type: Medium

Voltage: 130

Lumens: 700

Wattage: 60

Life Hours: 3,500

Bulb Type: LED

Color: Frosted

“Mary Ellen, you have to be kidding me,” I texted back. “I have no chance to get this right.”

“Look, those specs are exactly what we need for our new kitchen lighting. And make sure the clerk knows that all the fixtures are recessed.”

There must have been 100 different kinds of bulbs, stacked to the ceiling. I put my glasses on and tried to read the small print on the sides of the boxes. Incredibly, the lighting in that part of the store was lousy.

One brand boasted that the bulbs in the box would last 25 years. This was not good enough for me. I’m only 73, and when I spend that kind of money on bulbs, I want a lifetime guarantee. The model number for another type of bulbs was 1003024303, which sounded like I had one chance in about 100 billion to end up with the right ones.

I never found exactly what she wanted, so there was some tension between us when we talked on the phone. That’s when I decided to inject a little humor. Later, I walked in the house with a bulb in my mouth.

“Having a light snack?” Mary Ellen asked. Darn! She beat me to the punch line, which always ticks me off.

We agreed that having me shop for her was never a good idea. It was getting late and we were hungry.

“Why don’t you go get a carry-out pizza for us?” Mary Ellen asked.

“OK, can you tell me what toppings you want? I don’t want to make any more mistakes.”

“Whatever you want,” she said. “I’m not particular.”


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