Monday, June 5, 2017

Power Struggle

Several years ago, my son and I visited a Radio Shack in search of an adapter that would turn a regular outlet into a USB port. This was back before iPhones and tablets had come along. At the time, apparently, no one had envisioned a need for such a thing. Except me, I guess.

I had some equipment that was USB powered but didn’t necessarily need to be connected to the computer. I was trying to move some of these things away from my computer corner to make more room. I thought if I could plug them into a wall outlet, it would get them out of the way.

When we couldn’t find what I was looking for, I asked the “expert” sales clerk if they carried anything like that, explaining what I wanted to do. You’d have thought I’d asked if we could get tickets for the next rocket to Mars. And as if the look the guy gave us didn’t convey how stupid he thought we were, his condescending tone made it clear. “That’s not even possible. Those are two completely different systems.”

“Different maybe but not impossible to connect,” I argued.

“No. USB can’t operate on house power.”

Now I was the one giving out disparaging looks. “The people who invented the USB plug didn’t invent an entirely new form of energy. They’re both still electricity.”

My son even chimed in, pointing out that transformers or transducers allow electricity to be converted to whatever form is needed. But it was no use.

“You just don’t understand electricity,” the guy said. “You can’t plug one into the other.”

Right I thought. I said, “I plug my computer into the wall and then plug the USB cord into my computer. Am I missing something?”

The guy didn’t have an answer so instead; he gave me another look that said my stupidity was an annoyance and wasting his time. I informed him we would look elsewhere and we prepared to leave.

“You’re never find what you want because it doesn’t exist,” the guy said.

Well, he was right, sort of. We visited every store in town that carried electronics and no one had what we were looking for, such a thing did not exist—yet. So, I gave up on the idea.

A few years later, my son and I were quite amused by the little cubed adapter that came with an iPhone. It plugged into the wall and had a USB port. Amazing! What will they think of next?

Then, about a month ago, I replaced an outlet in our kitchen. In addition to the regular plug-ins, the new outlet features two USB ports. This eliminates the need for anything other than a USB cord to charge phones, tablets, or any number of other gadgets that are piling up around the house these days and utilize what has become the current standard method of charging.

After installing the outlet, I wondered what the so-called expert from Radio Shack would think of these new developments. Would he still insist it wouldn’t work? Does he still think that USB is some new energy form? Or, I wondered, has he figured out by now that electricity is quite easily connected to electricity? Guess I’ll never know. I’ll probably never see the man again because they have now closed our Radio Shack—along with a few thousand others. Hmm, I think I might see why! ~

Bruce A. Borders is the author of more than a dozen books, including: Inside Room 913, Over My Dead Body, The Journey, Miscarriage Of Justice, The Lana Denae Mysteries, and The Wynn Garrett Series. Available in ebook at and paperback on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Books-a-Million. Bruce A. Borders is a proud member of Rave Reviews Book Club.


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