Wednesday, August 10, 2016

August 10, 2016--Stray Current

"Here's one for you," George said.

"Not another one like the one about the rhumb line?" He knew I was attempting to be amusing. I loved his rhumb line story. Even wrote about it.

A hint of a smile confirmed I was about to hear another of his shaggy parables.

"You know I was in the Coast Guard, right?" I did know that. "Well, do you know about stray currents?"

We were at his house where he and Fran were hosting a lively dinner party. George had waited until I had too much to drink before springing this one on me. "Not that much."

"I don't want to repeat what you already know so . . ."

"In fact, I never heard of stray currents. So I'm all yours." He liked that.

"Say you're below deck and there's a little standing water down there."

"Doesn't sound good to me."

"Well, it is and it isn't."

"I'm assuming this is about when it isn't. So get right to it. My ability to follow you is limited. I was fine until you started pouring lemoncello, which, by the way was delicious."

"Let's say that one of the electric lines down there is a bit frayed or corroded. It shouldn't be. We pride ourselves on exceptional maintenance. It's the Coast Guard." As if that was supposed to say it all. "And at one end of the line there's a tear or rupture."

"Doesn't sound good."

"So some current gets loose, is stray," he winked, "and starts moving around in the bilge water. It's seeking some place to get to, to ground itself. That may not be its only option. Before reaching ground, it could leap to the other side and complete a circuit. If that happens you don't want to be standing there with your shoes all wet."

"I can imagine," I said, not really fully able to. In fact I'm not even sure I'm remembering this correctly, I don't know my electricity, except that seeking and reaching ground is much the preferable.

"Why are you telling me this?" I was puzzled more than I usually am with his stories, which sometimes feel like non sequiturs. This one about stray currents for example.

"Well, this one's a political story. Related to all the political talk tonight." There had been quite a lot of that.

"Think now about Donald Trump's supporters. Earlier you proclaimed them shearing away. As the result of how he abused the Kahn family. Of their remarkable son. You mentioned that many of your conservative friends here, Trump supporters, are beginning to have second thoughts."

"I have been noticing that. I think it's over for him. For Trump. But what's the point of your stray current story?" It was getting to be past my bedtime. What with all the wine, the intense talk, the ribaldry, I was happily done in.

"The story might be thought to be about the ungrounded rogue current."

"That's it?" I said.

"That's it," he said.

"That's it?" I asked.

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