Thursday, October 31, 2013


Explosion proof!
I have this vague recollection of how I got my first "grown up" flashlight.

I was 8 or 9 and it was a gift -- Christmas? Birthday? I don't remember. I still have it. It's a black 2D Maglite. Over the last ~25 years I've had the flashlight, it has picked-up numerous nicks, scratches, at least one set of batteries leaked inside the tube, and the rubberized cover for the on/off button recently came off and has been lost. Still, it works and that's the important thing.

Even before that I had this weird attachment to flashlights.

I remember playing in the front yard of our house with my dad's silver flashlight that had a switch and a "Morse code" button. Tapping the button to send messages just seemed like the cool thing to do. Usually, I'd be out there in the fog because then it looked like a lightsaber. My brother and I would make the appropriate "zzzwong, bzzzzit" lightsaber noises.
Just look at the size of that flashlight!

Since then I've always jumped at the chance to get my hands on a flashlight, especially after watching movies or TV shows that featured them prominently. X-Files was really bad for this because the main characters Mulder and Scully would run around in the dark with some really awesome flashlights, big and small. Batman always seemed to have one ready on his utility belt. I practically wept the first time saw Alan Wake in motion.

"Wept" might be a strong descriptor but there was definitely a chill that zoomed up my spine.

And this weird "obsession" with flashlights continues. I mean have you seen the latest LED models? I bought one recently that has an effective range of about 70m, has a really tight beam, and runs on two AA batteries for $14. Blows my mind, especially in practice when I'm trooping through the pitch black and click it on. Besides alleviating terror, it almost makes me feel a little cool.

And while headlamps are an alternative to my compact lighting desires -- they're especially handy for car repairs or situations where both hands should be free -- they haven't replaced that need for a flashlight.

Alan Wake.

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