It’s the middle of winter, and many of us are still waiting for the ground to thaw. So, I thought this might be a good time to bring you a few stories of humorous events that have happened on job sites across the country.
Always ask, “Why light?” — During Bill Locklin’s career as an electrical contractor, he designed a lighting job for a client who was hardly ever home. The weekend before he started it, Locklin and his family went to see the 1957 film “Boy on a Dolphin” starring Sophia Loren.
Wouldn’t you know it, this customer’s property happened to have a beautiful fountain with a bronze dolphin in the center. Perhaps inspired by the film — and without asking — Locklin took it upon himself to light the fountain.
After a week went by, Locklin finally was able to meet with the client to discuss the job and receive the final payment. Bill asked the customer how he liked the job. The customer explained that all of it was fantastic “except for that darned dolphin fountain!” Locklin was puzzled; the fountain had been lit perfectly. The man explained, “My mother-in-law had that fountain installed while I was away and spent a rather large sum of money on it — my money!” He told Locklin that he never really cared for his mother-in-law nor “her” cetacean fountain.
That is why, when teaching lighting classes, Locklin would always stress asking, “Why light?”
“Please the pooch” — An associate of mine once worked with a designer in Toronto who explained to him that his customers wanted outdoor lighting for their pet. This couple wanted their dog to be able to see in the backyard so he could have nighttime talks with the neighbor’s pup through the fence. It was also expressed that this dog had better like the lighting, or it would need to be changed to suit him.
Although this was a rather unusual request, my associate went to work on a fantastic design. When the job was completed and adjusted, the four-legged “client” was let out into his newly lit yard. After a short walk around and a few bragging barks to the neighbor mutts, the dog turned and ran to my associate, jumped up into his arms and began licking his face. His owners were ecstatic!
My associate was then awarded another job at their summer home. The moral of this story is, sometimes it pays to please the pooch.
The “hell hole” — Back in the day, I accompanied a contractor friend to help design a backyard for a Pentecostal pastor, a great guy with a very loud voice and a profound sense of humor. Walking the property, he told us the effects he wanted in all the areas of the yard except one — a corridor along the west side of the house where the trash cans were stored. He told us he was not sure what he wanted in that area.
We suggested that cable be installed in the area with a switch on the wall for control. He agreed, and the job was installed. After the final nighttime adjustment, he confessed that he still didn’t know what to do on that west side. Looking at me, he asked, “Can you think of anything?” I asked him to go in the house and we would call him out shortly.
Deciding to play to the pastor’s sense of humor, we installed two up lights with very bright 50-watt MR16 lamps. The fixtures, which we cross-lit, were fitted with red and amber lenses. My friend and I were snickering when I called out, “Okay, pastor, turn on the switch!” with a big grin on my face. When he did, red and yellow light flooded the corridor and I yelled, “Pastor, here is your hell hole!” The pastor roared with laughter, exclaiming, “I love the hell hole! This is going to get a lot of people back to church.”
I don’t know about that, but the hell hole is still up and running today.
I hope you all were able to get warmed up with a little humor. If you have any funny stories you would like to share, please send them to me, and I will put them in another article. And remember to smile and laugh often.
Kevin Smith is the national technical support and trainer at Brilliance LED LLC, Carefree, Arizona, and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.