Playing on the high voltage electrical transformer was one of the most fun things you could do as a kid. It was like a jungle gym with a warm comforting electric voltage. It was like playing with matches and running with scissors at the same time. It was like smoking. It was like drinking. It was like DRUGS.
The thing had a siren song I could not resist. Or maybe that was just the sound of the cancerous grounding hum. My parents had many rules, most of which I followed. Don’t talk to strangers? Fine. Don’t play with matches? Done. But don’t play on the high-voltage electrical transformer box that could electrocute you to death? Sorry, no can do.
Besides, if it was really so dangerous, there would have been an after-school special about it. Or a special filmstrip shown in class. A cartoon all-stars program. At the very least, a piddly PSA at the end of GI Joe. I trusted television for all of my most important information.
I openly defied the sticker on the side of the transformer than read WARNING DO NOT TOUCH. I mocked it. A picture of silhouetted man being shocked to death meant nothing to the ice cold water running in my veins. I was a daredevil. A rebel. A fearless dragon. The only thing that scared me was quicksand. Well—and that episode of Punky Brewster where Cherie got trapped in the refrigerator and almost suffocated. God, that was traumatizing.
Okay, fine, and jellyfish. They’re translucent blobs with tentacles. And Brussels Sprouts. They’re mini-cabbages. SCARY.
The transformer was fun for lots of reasons. Reason #1: it was called a transformer. I was always waiting for that thing to turn in Optimus Prime. Reason #2: It was a moon base for my action figures. Reason #3: I could do extreme stunts off of it. Like jumping and well—only jumping. But I could jump all the way to the sidewalk without touching the grass. And that arbitrary invisible line was like the Olympic finish line.
I was like Rocky always training for the big fight. I practiced my jumps on the staircase in the house, always trying to jump from the next step up. I usually chickened out around the fourth or fifth step, but with enough training, my goal in life was to jump down an entire flight of stairs.
I never did make it, and maybe that’s a shame. I could always start trying again, but I like my knees. I think they used to be made of Kevlar, but now they’re just made of ligaments and flesh. I was bionic, once. I’m human now. But I’m a fearless dragon forever.