A lightbulb moment

I’ve just counted, and I may have missed one or two, but I think there are ten different types of light bulb in use in my house (I don’t mean they’re on – good heavens, I don’t want to spoil my green credentials), I mean that they are of differing varieties – screw-in (thin and fatter), bayonet, different wattage, spotlight, and also those ones that they’re giving away free because they save money, and which are very dim. Even one of the latter has blown and had to be replaced.

Once again my dander is up. (What the hell’s a dander? I’ve just been to look, and the fact is, nobody is sure. I hate that. The best guess is that it’s a corruption of dunder, which is cane-juice in the process of fermenting, although my ancient [1913, I think] Shorter OED thinks it might even be to do with dandruff, which is a corruption of another dander. This is no good, how can I have something up which I can’t even visualise?) Once again, I feel a campaign imminent. There is no need to have so many different sizes and strengths of light-bulb. Everyone, everywhere in those countries fortunate enough to have electricity has a cupboard which is bursting with bulbs for every contingency. It is stupid. It is the work of dunderheads (no relation, apparently, that’s the Dutch for thunder + head, and I have to say I’m a bit suspicious about that lack of relationship. After all, haven’t I got my thunder up?)

It used to be said, and it may be an urban myth, or in my case, a rural myth, I suppose, that the light-bulb companies invented perpetual light bulbs many moons ago, and then realised that they were going to put themselves out of business, so scrapped the invention then and there. We were, the theory goes, doomed by a business decision to stand on the tops of step-ladders, wondering whether the dead bulb is attached to a live source or a dead source, wobbling a bit, wondering what to do with a new light bulb in one hand and a dead one in the other – I wonder how many accidents in the home are caused by the replacement of a light bulb?

And, thinking about it, isn’t the bayonet fitting, like the screw fitting, a pretty poor design? (Odd that it’s calle a bayonet fitting – apparently so because soldiers need to fix bayonets quickly. Hmmm.) Why can’t you just plug something in with the ease of a – well, a plug springs to mind. Which is another thing – sinks and basins have different sizes of plug. Lots of different sizes. Why? I can go with Big and Small, but why all the other varieties? What’s that about?

I could be wrong here, but wasn’t there a sublime moment in British electrical engineeting history when we swapped over from round-pin plugs to square-pin blugs, and at the same time changed the colours of the live, neutral and earth wires? And wasn’t that a British Standard thing? If we can do it for sockets, why can’t we do it for sink-plugs and light-bulbs? Has no political party thought of this?

Get it in your manifesto, somebody. I will give you my vote as freely and fairly as I can.

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