On Saturday night, or more accurately, during one of those murky hours between Saturday night and Sunday morning, my friend-cough, cough-got moderately electrocuted. It happened in a basement-naturally, as basements are largely just pits of despair filled with danger, spiders, and crushed Solo cups after midnight-and wide-eyed, youth-like curiosity and New England weather patterns were to blame. My friend, soaking wet thanks to another beautiful night of 40-degree spring monsooning, spied a giant, beckoning lever, and pulled said instrument of terror to see what would happen. Out went the power and numb went his arm.
It took a bit of time, but the right side of his body started moving at full speed again eventually, and as the pins and needles faded, an important message lingered in my-er, his-slightly singed brain: electricity is no joke, safety haters be damned. So, because I am a servant of the public good, and because this is a sports column, I’ve created a very thin link between two mostly unrelated phenomena, with the intent to better the world we live in through a simple dos and don’ts manual. Without further ado, I present the first ever Haters’ Guide To Electrical Safety And The World Cup. (The World Cup electrifies people in a figurative sense. It’s pretty weak, I know.)
DO: Shamelessly embrace The World Cup. On Thursday, June 12, 32 national teams will compete in the biggest single-event sporting competition and Coca Cola marketing binge in the world. Regardless of whether or not you know Cristiano Ronaldo from Ronaldinho or a sweeper from a keeper, hop on the Rio bandwagon-FIFA.com estimates that 715.1 million people watched the final match of the 2006 FIFA World Cup, so you’ll be in good company. The World Cup unites countries from the far reaches of the world in the pursuit of soccer’s greatest prize, creating heartbreak, legends, villains, and heroes every four years. Key phrase to fake your way through a conversation: “Obviously Spain has the talent to make a run, but don’t you think that Del Bosque’s system has been figured out by now?”
DON’T: Tamper with a wall outlet. According to Electrical Safety Foundation International, nearly seven children are treated in hospital emergency rooms each day as a result of injuries sustained from tampering with a wall outlet.
DO: Prep for the tournament by spending an inhumane number of hours playing FIFA 14. If you’re new to international soccer and want to find an easy way to get caught up, download roster updates, disregard your family, friends, and personal health, and play FIFA for hours on end. It’s scientifically proven that via osmosis and mind-numbing repetition, you will learn player names and gain the ability to produce a weird quasi-British accent. Key phrase: “Five minutes of stoppage time? What, is Sir Alex Ferguson the ref?”
DON’T: Approach high-voltage wires unless you know for certain that the power is off.
DO: Pledge your allegiance to the stars and stripes. The U.S. has been cast into the Sarlacc pit of tournament pairings-the infamous group of death with Germany, Portugal, and Ghana-but it’s not an entirely hopeless fate. Jurgen Klinsmann’s boys can take a loss to Germany and still make it through if they can scrap a draw with their nemesis Ghana and beat Portugal-but that will mean stopping Ronaldo, and the only easy way to do that is to lock him in a refrigerator and drop it in the Mediterranean Sea. Key Phrase: “What ever happened to Freddy Adu?”
DON’T: Use a fork or a knife to remove a piece of bread from the toaster or toaster oven. Metal is an infamous conductor of electricity.
DO: Laugh. Laugh wholeheartedly when England crashes out of the group stages in some hilarious or frustrating fashion despite the fact that this, like every other World Cup year since 1966, is the Three Lions’ year. Phrase to know: “Poor Wayne Rooney.”
DON’T: Leave a motor vehicle if a power line falls on it unless there is a fire hazard.
DO: Remember that anyone who picks Belgium to win the tournament is basing their opinion off of one friendly match, Eden Hazard, their admiration of waffles, FIFA 14, and a misplaced trust in Marouane Fellaini’s absurd hair cut. Additionally, it’s worth noting that anyone who picks France to win the World Cup is from France. Phrase to know: “How about that Lukaku guy, Everton sure wants to hang on to him.”
DON’T: Seek shelter under a tree during a lightning storm. Trees and other tall objects are commonly struck by lightning.
DO: Observe the similarities between FIFA President Sepp Blatter and Emperor Palpatine-Blatter may be building a Death Star in Qatar. Phrase to know: “Corruption, corruption, corruption.”
There you have it, simple rules for taking on two electrifying parts of life. Observe the don’ts so you can make it to the dos, and of course, you will enjoy the World Cup most if you remember the most obvious don’t of all:
DON’T: Pull mysterious basement levers while soaking wet.