I learned basic electricity in high school.
Because of this stellar academic achievement, I felt well qualified to plug in a Russian appliance.
The appliance is a Russian Samovar, which is basically a glorified tea pot.
The old ones were lit by oil, but this one was electric.
I felt up to the task.
A little about electrical outlets and appliance cords. In the Motherland and most other European countries, electrical outlets are a little different. Most are 220 (give or take a few volts) and 50 cycles, which really is irrelevant to the point, but because I took basic electricity I felt obligated to let you know that I know what that means.
Sometimes, I’d have to use a heavy transformer that I brought with me from the states to power other stuff I lugged along, like computers and hair dryers.
I soon learned that the main purpose of Russian electrical cords is to thin out the foreign population.
So, I am in my future in-law’s apartment and I have a Russian cord in my hand.
It is the electrical cord to the aforementioned Samovar and I’m trying to plug it in so I can boil some water.
Which, is a necessity.
Did I mention that it was 220 volts?
But I am having some difficulty plugging it in – which was a good thing because…
In my other hand is the other end of the cord. The end that plugs into the device – the tea pot.
Oh, and here’s the thing – both ends of the cord have the metal prongs…
One end goes into the wall socket, 220 volts, and the other end, also exposed, is securely clutched in my right hand.
And, it ain’t going anywhere because I have a death grip on it.
Where else would it be, right? Normally one would feel safe holding the other end of the cord in your hand because the manufacturer isn’t trying to KILL you!
At least here, I assume, the manufacturer isn’t purposefully taking advantage of the stupidity of the user!
So the first surge of electricity, which is apparently designed to kill stupid Americans unfamiliar with the safety regulations (or lack thereof), shot through my hand and exited my right foot in the matter of milliseconds.
I don’t know how, but I yelled.
This brought the other people in the apartment into the living room to see what the commotion was about!
As they strolled in, I was able to pry the instrument of death from my clenched hand.
So, thank you Russian electrical engineers for designing a superior power cord for thinning out the herd and for the permanent scar on my hand in the shape of two metal prongs.