I had a friend many years ago who had a strange connection with the physical world. For example it was quite easy for him to throw dice and have the numbers he wanted come up.

Later on he found his way to the Majareshi University where I believe he learned to float in air.

When I knew him he was a potter. I was a potter too then, and we were both part of a circle of craftspeople who helped each other out with whatever building projects was under way. We were always drumming up sources of used materials for building kilns and sheds and studio furnishings or whatever, and sharing what we had with each other. We were all very good at locating treasure troves of good junk.

One day this particular friend and I were driving back into town from somewhere or another when we happened upon an unusual looking heap of trash by the side of the road. We ended up putting a big part of the heap in the back of the truck. Who knows what all we scored that day.

It was a long time ago.

I do remember that we picked up some old woollen baseball uniforms that I later gave to a rock climbing friend in Yosemite who used one of them when she was part of the first all female ascent of Half Dome, but of the mechanical stuff we got that day, the only thing I remember is a table fan. It was smaller than the average fan and looked well built, and one of us thought it would be handy to have.

My friend with the strange relationship to the natural world was more electrically inclined than I was, so he took charge of checking out this fan and making sure it worked. I was there, though, and watched him do it. I think I had it in mind that I needed to learn how to fix electric kilns. My friend put the fan on a work bench and I stood on the other side of it as he fiddled with it. It was late by then and we were probably mainly just shooting the breeze. The cord didn't have a normal plug on it. It had something smaller. My friend wired on a regular two-pronged plug and plugged it in to see if anything would happen.

A lot happened.

There was a flash and a series of quick bangs.
The lights went off,the fan motor blew up, and foul smelling smoke followed the flash. That was a surprise, needless to say.

I mean it was such a little appliance.
But the big shock came when we got the lights back on.

We had to grope around a bit to find the electrical panel and turn the breaker back on. When we finally got back to the work bench to figure out what had happened, we saw that all four of the blades of the fan had flown off in different directions.

One was right there, an inch deep in the oak top of the table.

Another one wass embedded in the ceiling.

One had disappeared and the last one had gone neatly through a bisqe-fired pot.

This might have all been very amusing, except it was only be chance that the fan was facing the way it was. I don't know the work for this kind of shock.

I still feel it.