6. Gullible Electrons

One day my father explained to me that in the wintertime electricity was stored in the carpet.  I was only eight years old and my skepticism was met with a wry smile and the offer of proof.  “Take off your shoes and brush your feet along the carpet all around the house.  Then touch something and you will see the electricity,” he told me.  He went on to say, “that’s because you are gathering electricity through your socks, into your body and storing it there until you release it through your finger.”  I didn’t understand it at the time but he was clearly trying to instill and build my curiosity for scientific discovery and teach me to think before taking action.Dad_and_I

Because I was only eight I instantly dismissed all of this as complete nonsense.  Dad did have an accomplished sense of humor coupled with his constant effort to make me think and he often took advantage of a son’s natural tendency to believe everything his father told him.  So I was constantly trying not to be so gullible.  Yet, I did think about it.  I thought about it the rest of the day, that night, and the next day while I was at school.     Because I was so conscious of my gullibility, I couldn’t talk to anyone about it.  So when I got home from school I finally decided to see if this was another of his little jokes.  I looked all around to make sure no one was watching, took off my shoes, and started scuffing my feet on the carpet all around the house.   I felt nothing.  My feet felt nothing.  For 15 minutes, I trekked around the house.  Nothing happened and I began to shake my head with the realization that Dad had done it to me again.

I ended my trek in the kitchen where Mom was doing some dishes. I was really dejected at this point and then I remembered that Dad had said that after I had gathered up all the electricity from the carpet, I needed to touch something to prove that it had worked.  I was even more skeptical at this point but I really needed to find out.  So I walked up behind  Mom and touched the back of her neck with my finger.  What I saw was amazing!  I saw the most beautiful blue arc extend from my finger to her neck and then a little crack when it ended.  Wow!  He wasn’t kidding!  This really did work!  My father really was a genius!

That’s when it all turned bad.  Almost immediately I heard a plate crash and break. I’m not sure I had ever seen my mother so angry.  My scientific experimentation and discovery was rewarded with a one-way ticket to my room for the rest of the day.  A few hours later, Dad came home from work and I heard some yelling in the kitchen, followed by some muffled laughter from my father, followed by more yelling from my mother,  followed by … well you get the idea.

My sisters came home from high school while I was still in my room and I’m not sure they were ever told about my activities that day.  I then was released from my room in time for dinner and the subject of my experimentation with electricity, and Dads part in it, never came up again.  I did have an amazing amount of fun showing my friends at school what I could do for the rest of the week.  However, the eight year old girls who were unlucky enough to be close by were less than amused.

Then a few years later, whenever Dad believed I was being taken in by some scam or other, he would ask me about those electrons in the carpet.  It was always his subtle reminder to think things through before taking action.  My father had the most unusual and interesting way of teaching.

© J T Weaver

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About J T Weaver

The author of "Uphill Both Ways," a thought provoking series of stories about life, family, and growing up.
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40 Responses to 6. Gullible Electrons

  1. This story was simply ELECTRIC! 😉 Fun to read.

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  2. Great story and your dad sounds like a very logical man. I like his teaching style very much indeed. Too bad your mom was on the receiving end of fifteen minutes of static electricity build-up LOL!

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  3. Geniies says:

    You’re stories are a pleasure to read.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. What a fantastic story and a great reminder to me. My father was a wonderful teacher too. I remember a birthday party where he set up a whole lot of similar experiments, so there were sparks flying all over the place. The kids invited had a ball and never forgot it.

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  5. Frances D says:

    Oh man that was funny. I can see the blue arc, and hear the yelling!

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  6. mrsgillies says:

    That’s a great story!

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  7. lvsrao says:

    Very Interesting. Nice presentation.

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  8. lenkennedy says:

    A beautiful recollection. Well told

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  9. Binah says:

    Beautiful story. Your dad sounds interesting.

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  10. A wonderful story. Your Dad must have had a wicked sense of humour. And it’s true enough that the potential to generate a charge is there…between carpet and socks!

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  11. MBA2MFA says:

    Not just a wonderful story, but a lesson in creative parenting. It’s amazing how engaged our little ones are – how they take to heart everything we say, how curious they are about the world. Now is the time to reward and engage their curiosity, while they still have it, while they still believe in miracles.

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  12. Wonderful story written with exquisite style.

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  13. Chas Spain says:

    That is so lovely. I remember my cynical moment came while my mum was in hospital having my 3rd brother and Dad had to get us ready for school. He said he would plait my hair which I wasn’t very sure about. But he explained it would be alright because he used to plait hair for pirates. I too went to school thinking I was maybe being a bit gullible. By the time I came home I had worked out that even he wasn’t old enough to have plaited hair for pirates.

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  14. mixedupmeme says:

    I never became too interested in the whys and hows of those electrons, but sure had a lot of fun shuffling my feet and shocking others. Still do. 🙂

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  15. prog4 says:

    Great story.

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  16. tchistorygal says:

    Too funny. Gullibility doesn’t kill, but it sure is shocking! 🙂 I’m gullible, to, but don’t try anything! 🙂

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  17. Sudha says:

    A Father is the most influential teacher in a person’s life! One can never actually forget their father’s teaching ever… may be it has a lot to do with the way they teach you something. One day you are taking a walk by the roadside with him and he tells you something, and that becomes a lifelong learning! I love such moments with my father 🙂
    Loved your post! Thanks for sharing.

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  18. This is a very lovely story. Thanks for sharing!

    Like

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