There are a certain percentage of things that can only happen to me. Bizarre coincidences leading to disaster, things like running into a skunk while skiing, or having a plow truck dump all the snow from an overpass onto my car while I was driving underneath. Twice. The first time I ever drove in a blizzard. This week had one of those.
Sunday afternoon, I was watching football at home and decided to flip over to the other game. Since I don't have cable, I pick up all the broadcasts via an antenna made out half a dozen coat hangers and a paper clip. Understandably, whenever you change the channel, you have to re-twist the metal a dozen different ways in order to pick up the new broadcast, and I've gotten fairly used to the general idiosyncrasies of each channel: CBS - down and to the right, Fox - straight up and over the TV, ABC - attach to the doorknob, NBC - don't even try. Still, it can take a couple minutes of struggle to finally get an only vaguely fuzzy image.
On this occasion, I was wrestling the wires and jerking things back and forth when the paper clip burst free from the coaxial input and slipped off the edge of the hanger. Purely coincidentally, it managed to impale itself inside the outlet that the television was plugged into, in the millimeter of space between the plug and the outlet. There was a small, brilliant explosion as the paper clip melded itself to both the outlet and the plug, leaving a large, dark circle around the outlet and knocking out all of the outlets and lights in my apartment. I whacked the plug out of the outlet with a wooden spoon and went to flip the breaker a couple times. Nothing. I had shorted out my apartment.
I called my apartment complex to tell them that my outlets didn't seem to be working for some reason. They were appropriately apologetic for my baffling loss of power. I managed to be magnanimous about the whole thing. "I'm sure it's just one of those things," I told them.
Hopefully they'll forget about this incident quickly so that they can't start putting a pattern together. This sort of stuff tends to follow me around.