Stupid is as stupid does

Many years ago my dad severely burned himself by pouring gasoline onto a smoldering trash fire. The flame traveled up the stream of gas and exploded the gas can burning my dad and requiring surgery, skin grafts and a many week stay in the burn unit.

This morning I basically did the same thing. My trusty Fellowes cross-cut paper shredder was beginning to freeze up and so I did the obligatory Google search for information concerning lubricating paper shredders.

I really didn’t know (at this point) that paper shredders were to be lubricated on a regular basis. “Old Nelly” (my paper shredder) had served me well over the past ten years with never a complaint (except for a paper clip now and then). My Google search revealed hundreds of bits of information concerning paper shredders and lubrication. Yes, they were indeed to be lubricated every month (light use) or every four hours (very heavy use).

I scanned about a dozen Google article headers and the first three or four lines of each article. I took out a can of compressed air and another of WD-40 lubricant.

WD-40 works on everything – right? WRONG! If I would have read some of the further in some of the articles they said not to use WD-40 or 3-N-1 oil or other lubricants like these. Are you aware that they make a special lubricant for paper shredders? I was not, and now it was about to be to a painful lesson in stupidity.

I sprayed the WD-40 directly into the throat of the paper shredder, and also onto a sheet of paper in a “zig-zag” pattern. I ran several sheets of paper into the shredder and at first it seemed to run smoother and faster than previous.

A few seconds later the shredder seemed to slow down and I put my face a little closer to check out the reason. Then, quite frankly, an explosion and brief flash fire erupted from the head of the shredder and onto my face and hair.

The flash fire burned the top 1/4 of the front of my hair, my eye brows, and my left wrist and forearm. Smoke alarms went off in my home office and upstairs and my wife quickly ran to see what the matter was. Burning hair and flesh have a terrible odor.

A quick haircut, eye brow trim, and burn salve to my left wrist and all is mostly well.

Bottom line. Pay attention to low tech stuff. Read the entire article during Google searches. Check searches to see if your solution (in my case WD-40) is covered. I did – too late.

Ouch.

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