DISPOSSESSIONS DEP’T.: Uninterruptible Power Supply, Interrupted

in Hmm Weekly
on April 22, 2021

I WORK AT home, on a computer, all day, I’m on the computer, doing my work. A while back I thought how ridiculous and fragile it was to depend on wires running into my house for my wages, to wit; the wire from the Cable Television company providing me with Internet, vital to my work, and the wires running into my house from the Power Company, enabling me to operate a machine connected to my Internet supply—a machine plugged in to a grubby “power strip,” with a fuse in it in case of a lightning strike or power drop/surge from the Power Company. A house of cards made out of, like, three cards!

So I dropped a few hundred bucks on an Uninterruptible Power Supply, a/k/a “backup UPS,” an insanely heavy black box full of batteries and a high-tech assemblage of wires and fuses and breakers and chips designed to protect my computers from power surges and also to provide 15 minutes of backup power, so I wouldn’t lose whatever work I had in progress. I felt good about my investment in Security as I made the hard choices as to which parts of my work array would be plugged in to the UPS-machine’s backup power supply ports, as opposed to other plugs simply providing the vital buffer between electronic destruction and the vagaries of Maryland’s summertime weather.

Two weeks into my newfound Security, I’m sitting at my desk pecking away at my computer keyboard, and the power-thing, inches away from my feet, snap-crackle-popped, and I mean SZZZ-NAP! CRACKLE! PZZZ-OPP!!! This was followed by an alarming electro-chemical burning smell and some smoke. I froze for a sec in terror, looking at my computer screen, which was dark, along with all the little telltale lights on my various external drives and disk drives and the cable modem thing, and then I reached down and yanked out all the plugs from the back of my interrupted power supply, which was emanating heat and faintly crackling.

I picked the thing up—and this thing is “remember to lift with your legs” heavy, ran outta the basement with it and sat the traitorous box in the backyard away from anything in case it, I dunno, exploded? The backup box is in a box at the recycling center, and my computer and all the attending boxes that enable me to earn a paycheck are back on the grubby Power Strip.