Once, when I was little, my mom and I were making brownies or cookies (or some such) with our good old mixer. I can still see that white metal mixer. It is long gone now, but it lasted for years and years. At some point, as it aged, it began to give you a nice little electric shock if you put the beaters in or took them out while it was still plugged in -- or maybe it didn't matter if it was plugged in -- I don't remember. I just recall getting the startling zap every now and then. Plus, I don't know much about electrical conductivity (as you will soon see). It also began to overheat so that if you were holding onto the top arm as you mixed, before long it would get toasty hot and you'd have to let go.
Anyway, on that day long ago when I was mixing something with my mom, she suddenly warned me that I must NEVER put the plug of the mixer in my mouth. She then reinforced the importance of taking this precaution by telling me about a girl who had to be taken to the hospital with electrical burns all down her throat for putting just such a plug in her mouth.
The thing is, never, in my wildest and strangest thoughts, had it occurred to me that I might want to put the plug of our mixer (or any plug for that matter) in my mouth. Yet, now that I knew what could happen, I was seized with a terror that at any moment my self restraint might fail and I might feel utterly compelled to grab the plug and stick it in my mouth. I hoped I wouldn't. I didn't want to. But who knew whether or not I might become possessed with such a reckless and uncontrollable desire. It was there now -- a terrifying possibility.
Now that I think about it, I am not sure if putting a plug in your mouth would do anything. Would it? It seems like the plug would have to be plugged in for it to actually electrically burn you, and if it was plugged in, how could you put it in your mouth? But, as I said, I don't know anything about electrical conductivity (except of course that you can do something with a potato and some wires to turn on a light bulb -- but who doesn't know that). I don't want to try it out because I still remember the story of that poor girl rushing off to the hospital, but every now and then, when I warn my own children of some random danger, I find myself wondering if I have done nothing more than plant a dangerous idea in their little heads.
Why did I write about this? Well, I don't know.