I happen to live in the handicap-ready unit of my building, which means I get all the sweet perks like double wide parking spaces and bath tub handles that one man could ever want. However, I also get these…



The basic premise is that a deaf person would be better served with a visual alert to impending rotisserie conditions in their tenement.  I am glad the various state, local and federal agencies that mandate these systems exist.  I am also pleased that our society chooses not to let the deaf be consumed by fire to save $87.17 on homebuilding costs. I am not glad, however, that the individuals who installed my fire warning system used a Gerbil to ground the electronics behind feet of metal, concrete, and drywall.

When I still had a sense of humor about these things, I used to call them ‘Strobe Raves.’  At some seemingly random time, they would activate themselves for my viewing pleasure and flash throughout my apartment for indeterminate amounts of time.


“….And the idea was, the shark (strobe light) comes to the nearest man and that man, he’d start poundin’ and hollerin’ and screamin’ and sometimes the shark (strobe light) would go away. Sometimes he wouldn’t go away.


During the day, this was just kind of a nuisance to TV or browsing the internet.  I imagine it was kind of like having a stroke, in that you could just barely see small, pulsating, flashes of light in the corner of your vision or perhaps reflected off a window or laptop screen.  I’m sure it was destroying brain cells too, just not as quickly.  Slide on some Don Henley wayfarers and go about your business.


At night, it was the worst kind of psychological warfare.  Chinese water torture delivered through photons of light ‘dripping’ onto my retinas.  I believe we used this against NVA prisoners in Vietnam.

Because the system is wired into building, theres no breaker to reset. No bulb to remove. No alarm panel to clear. I just had to deal with it.  Sometimes it lasted 3 minutes and disappeared. I once clocked it at 2 Hours and change with a full Fire Department response.  The tech for our system came out the other day, and he was dumbfounded as well. The building manager is contemplating suicide because he keeps getting emergency calls to come in at 2AM and check the alarm. I’m just happy I work nights this month and can punt the sleep deprivation till April.




Peter Hunter: You don’t like the police much, do you?

Martin Laws: No love lost, no.

Peter Hunter: So when someone kicks down your front door, kills the dog and rapes the wife, who you gonna call?

Martin Laws: Well it certainly wouldn’t be the West Yorkshire Police – they’d already *be* in there, wouldn’t they!

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