Re: ground straps

Subject: Re: ground straps
From: Matt Ion <mion -at- NEXTLEVEL -dot- COM>
Date: Sun, 1 Oct 1995 22:17:53 PDT

On Wed, 27 Sep 1995 14:19:27 -0400 you wrote:

> While looking through this mornings load of catalogs, I noticed the
>absolutely huge amount of operator grounding accessories.

(I know it's a little off-base Eric; please don't slap me)

I've rarely even used personal-grounding accessories when working directly
with CMOS devices, myself... a little care in handling goes a long way.

This did bring to mind a particular story I read once, I believe in the Fido
ELECTRONICS echo, or maybe someone posted it to FidoNews. In any case, how
true it is may be questionable, although it sounds like something any one of
my friends could have had happen to them...


Quick thinking electrical engineer
(forwarded from THE SHIT-LIST)

The following text has been forwarded around enough that all trace
of its original author's identity has been lost.

-------- Begin -------

My girlfriend always seemed to enjoy seeing how much she could
get away with doing some form of bondage stuff in public. She
does this partly because she finds it fun, mostly because she
knows it drives me out of my tree. Usually, I'm able to fast-
talk my way out of potentially embarrassing situations with
Mundanes, but yesterday she very nearly got me fired.

Yesterday afternoon we had lunch together. Afterward, she
accompanied me back to work. I thought this slightly unusual,
since she had never before expressed in interest in my work
(electronic engineering), but it didn't occur to me that she
had something planned.

We arrived at my workbench, where I am currently trying to figure
why the $&#% -at- ^$ board on which I am working is not performing
the way it is designed. "Is this where you work?" she asked.

"At the moment," I replied.
I reached over to turn on the scope, thereby completely
failing to notice the huge black studded collar she had
produced from her purse. Before I could blink (it's amazing
the speed at which she can do this), she had locked the collar
snugly around my neck, and locked the end of the 6 foot jack
chain to the center of the bench ( where there just happened
to be a mounting hole, dammit). I turned to her in utter
disbelief, mouth agape.

"I'll be back for you at five," she said.
"HAVE YOU GONE COMPLETELY WACKO!??!?!" I yelled in a hushed
voice. "How the hell am I going to explain this!?!?!"
"You'll think of something," she said, dropping the keys into
her cleavage, "you always do."
"But suppose I have to go to the bathroom," I countered.
"Don't give me that", she hissed, "I've seen you go a whole
day without visiting the bathroom."
"But...." I tried to say.
"SHHH! The subject is closed. I'll be back at five. Bye"

She turned around and left, against my hushed protests. I sat
in panic and tried to think out my situation. I tried to think
of who might visit. Most of my co-workers were friends who
knew that my girlfriend and I were a bit odd, so this
shouldn't surprise them. But I had *no* idea what I was going
to do if one of my bosses came in. I checked my watch to see
how long I would have to endure this ignominy. 13:30 (I'm a
military time weenie). "Three and a half hours," I thought. I
heaved a heavy sigh, and got to work, such as I could.

As it happened, three of my co-workers visited for what-not.
All of them immediately noticed the collar (it would be hard
not to) and asked if it was my girlfriend's idea. I said yes.
They asked what I would do if my supervisor saw it. I told
them I hadn't the faintest idea.

One of the aforementioned colleagues took the bench next to
me, and after a few remarks (and a question as to where he
could get such a collar), settled down to work in silence.

After some time, I checked my watch. 16:40. "Gee, I just might
make it through this after all," I thought. I was even
beginning to get a handle on the problem with the $#%&&$#
board on which I was working. Murphy must have been standing
right behind me, reading my thoughts, for not two minutes
later one of my bosses entered the room. And not just any
boss. Noooooooo. This was Mr. Narrowminded himself. This was
the guy who took Lifespring *and* became a born-again funda-
mentalist. How he came to have the power of hire-and-fire over
us is one of the Great Mysteries of The Universe. We avoided
this guy at all costs.

His eyes fell upon me immediately. A few picoseconds later, he
saw the collar around my neck in all it's splendor. "My life
is over," I thought. I still hadn't thought of a plausible
explanation for this. Mr. Solderbrain (the name we called him
behind his back; a corruption of his real name) started to
walk slowly and deliberately over to me, his eyes fixed on the
collar. Fifteen agonizing seconds later, he was standing next
to me. I thought the guy sitting next to me was going to have
seizures stifling all his giggles. I continued to work, acting
as though there were nothing the least bit unusual about my

Finally, he spoke.

"What. the. HELL! is. THAT!?!?!"

I don't know how I thought of what I said. In fact, I'm pretty
sure I didn't know what I was going to say until I was saying
it. I'm even more amazed that Solderbrain actually bought it
and didn't fire me on the spot.

I turned to face him calmly, with total nonchalance, exuding
complete confidence in what I was about to say, even though I
didn't know what it was yet. I didn't even miss a beat.

"Grounding strap," I said, and returned to work.

The guy next to me fell off his chair and nearly died


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