On Light Bulbs and Big Bird

I miss the days of the simple incandescent light bulb.  Especially now that we’ve changed the clocks and have to endure darkened skies at 4:30 pm.

The photo above is a view of our dining room chandelier.  As we sat down to dinner last night, my husband looked up at the light fixture hanging above us and exclaimed, “All of the bulbs are different!”  Then he laughed maniacally.

Because my husband rarely gets worked up about anything, I dutifully looked up at the light fixture so he wouldn’t accuse me, for the billionth time (who’s counting?), of not listening to him.

[Yes, I know. No need to state the obvious. This is what passes for stimulating conversation after 20 years of marriage. But don’t tell me you you can’t relate, because that’d be complete and utter bullshit. ]

So I observed the underside of the chandelier and immediately thought of Sesame Street.  Do you remember the game “One of These Things is Not Like the Others?” Well, Big Bird would be completely and utterly flummoxed if he saw our chandelier.

At first glance, it looks like there are two sets of two light bulbs. Two traditionally shaped incandescent bulbs and two of those horrid spiral CFL bulbs. But upon closer inspection, Big Bird would quickly realize that none of these bulbs are like the others. And this realization would ruffle his feathers to the point of premature molting.

We have four brands of bulbs represented in the light fixture: Philips, Bulbrite, a no-name bulb and Sylvania. The Bulbrite bulb is old-school incandescent. They’re the ones that would be sold on the black market if there were a black market for light bulbs. The Philips bulb, aka Eco Vantageis new-school incandescent and it’s supposed to give off a “natural” light. Which it does, if you live in a place where the sky is a dark stormy gray all the time.

The spiral bulbs are both expensive and awful, although our no-name CFL spiral bulb is slightly less awful than the Sylvania bulb.  These bulbs are supposed to be eco-friendly.  And I suppose they are – considering all the electricity you save while the bulbs slooooowly warm up. It would take me less time to light the candles lining the hallways of Thornfield Hall than the time it takes these doozies to boot up. As part of my scientific research for this post, I waited almost two minutes for the Sylvania bulb to illuminate to its full potential and even then, one of the spirals was still shimmering when I finally lost patience and pulled out most of my hair.

Have you ever tried looking directly at those CFL bulbs when they’re turned on (minds out of the gutter, people)?  The marketing gurus employ ridiculous adjectives like ‘warm’, ‘golden’, ‘pleasant’ and ‘easy on the eye’ to describe them. But don’t be fooled. Looking at one those bulbs is like looking directly at the sun.  Don’t do it unless you’re wearing the same special lenses you’d wear to a solar eclipse.

The manufacturers claim that the CFL bulbs last longer than regular bulbs. In fact, our Sylvania bulb is supposed to last an average of 12,000 hours.  For you math geniuses out there, that means that, if you’re so inclined, you can have those bulbs on 12 hours a day for 1,000 days.  That’s almost three years.  Three years too long. I have never wished an early death on anyone or anything. Except for these bulbs.

I honestly don’t know why we have four different bulbs in our chandelier. I think it’s because my husband is still trying to find the magic bulb that will allow us to be good environmental citizens and phase out the old-time incandescent bulbs once and for all. Frankly, I think he’s on a fool’s errand – we’re several years into this experiment and the magic continues to elude him. We’ll be 90 years old and he’ll still be looking for the perfect bulb.  And it won’t really matter because we’ll be blind by then. From the damn bulbs.

Have you found your one and only bulb? If so, please share!









4 thoughts on “On Light Bulbs and Big Bird”

  1. I always enjoy your upbeat & lively posts! 🙂

    Meanwhile, here in Texas we have the 2nd longest lasting light bulb in the world over in Fort Worth. It’s been burning since 1908! Impressive, eh? Especially since it spent it’s first decade or two outside in the wild Texas weather!

    ~Tui, dropping by to say hi from #MondayBlogs (‘cuz I *try* to read everything I RT!)

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