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Hold My Beer

John W. Pinkerton


A recent essay, “Major Fails,” written by my friend Paul Hord in which he  tells of his “major fails,” made me think of the expression, “Hold my beer.”

Like Paul, my “major fails” began at a young age when I decided to see what would happen if I stuck my finger in an unoccupied light socket.  Ouch.

But that pales in comparison to my adult major fail.  Hang on.

Several years ago, Linda left me home alone---always a mistake. 

While I was home alone for the evening, I developed an appetite.  I was “haungry” and my body said I needed a baked potato.

We had purchased one of those new-fangled machines called a “microwave.”  All I knew about microwaves was that they didn't like metal and things like potatoes need to have holes punched in them.

I had no trouble finding a nice tater which fit my eye perfectly, but I didn't know for how long to set the microwave's timer.  Ah, I recalled that there was a recipe book that came along with the purchase of the  microwave.  I searched it from cover to cover looking for how long to bake a potato.  I couldn't find the time for just a potato, but I did find a fancy meal composed of various vegetables and some sort of meat. It included a baked potato.  I noticed that the instructions stated that the meal was cooked in increments of time---add this item and cook for 5 minutes and then add another item, etc.  Being that the potato was in the microwave from the first button push through the last button push, I used “logic” and added up all the different times and came up with 45 minutes.  It seemed like a pretty long time for the “microwave” which touted how much time it saved, but I almost always apply logic to problems.   I've always considered logic to be my friend…but maybe not.

After setting the microwave to 45 minutes, I went about my business watching television and waiting for my meal to be done…and done it did get.

Out of the corner of my eye, I noticed smoke wafting through the open door to the kitchen.  Hmm.

Of course, I went to investigate.  The smoke was pretty heavy and seemed to be coming from the microwave.  I pushed the open  button and backed away from the microwave as smoke billowed out.  I stood across the room waiting for the smoke to clear a little.  Then I saw that my potato had been reduced to a glowing ember about the size of a walnut.

I thought, “Oh, well.  No potato for me but no harm done.”  After disposing of the ashes and wiping clean the microwave and turning on the ceiling fan, and opening all the doors and windows, I thought I needed to be thorough and check to see if the microwave was working properly.  It wasn't working at all.

There was no hiding this, so I called Linda and told her that I had good news and bad news: “The good news is that I didn't burn the house down.  The bad news is that I killed the microwave.”  She took it well, more or less.

I was a little reluctant to personally take it in to Sears to be repaired.  Of course, Linda volunteered and explained to the repairmen what had happened.  The explaining part is why I was a “little reluctant.”

A couple of days later, Linda received a call from one of the repairmen who reported that they had never had to replace the part my potato had killed and asked her to please explain one more time what had happened to cause the death of the microwave.  Funny guys.

Linda picked up the microwave, returned it to its proper place, and we used it without incident for years.  I do recall that for a very long time I was banned from using the microwave.  I don't think my banishment was meant as a punishment…more as a precaution.

If you've had a personal fail that makes you think, “Hold my beer,”  write it up and send it to me.  Until that time, I declare myself King of the Fails.