Trina Machacek: Flashlight, meet battery

I hope you live someplace where the power never goes out. I hope if you do live somewhere where when the power occasionally goes out you get your water from a utility so when the power does go out you still have water. Because when the power goes off at my house my well also has no power so there is no water until the power comes back on. That may seem like no big thing and it really isn’t when you have lived long enough to know what to do when the power goes out – fill everything with whatever water is still in the system… However no matter when, whatever time of the day or night, when the power dies goes a signal is sent to my bladder and I’m here to tell you, you get one flush when the power goes out so you better make it a good one! HAHA Speaking of darkness…

In my home there are at least, and I am not exaggerating, 20 flashlights. Out of those 20 at least 15 are dead. See flashlights are designed to stand on end. The end where the light comes out. When you stand them on the end, where the light comes out, you can’t see the light because they are standing on the end which creates a seal with the flat surface where they are standing which then seals off the light so you can’t tell the flashlight is on. That’s why most of the time I go to pick up a flashlight and turn it on I find it is already turned on and the battery is dead. I choose to believe I am not the only one who this happens to.

So I set out to collect and re-battery each flashlight I could find. Garage, shop, cupboards, drawers, cars – they were everywhere. The batteries however were all in one place thankfully – over the washing machine in a plastic box. So now it’s time – flashlight, meet battery. And it begins like this. It always begins like this. I unscrew the end and dump out all the old batteries. Four D cell. Then I pick out four new D cell and… Oops. I forgot to take a mental note of which end goes in first. See this was not always my job to do. Not that I haven’t changed batteries before. Clocks, toys, radios. Those things always have the little plus and minus signs for me to navigate the replacements. But my older flashlights are not usually marked. So I go to the next one, open it and before I dump out the old batteries I look and see the little nubbers on the positive end the batteries are pointed toward the light end. This is a piece of information that apparently my brain chooses not to store for the next time I need it as each time I have to re-learn the proper placement of battery into flashlight.

Twelve flashlights and a small mountain of various sized batteries later I am ready for the next dark night. And yes. I tried each one. Shooting everything from mealy yellow light up to bright white light across the room lighting up pictures, corners, that one spot on my ceiling where a nail is coming out and I have looked at it for years because it is too high to get to with my hammer! HAHA The last thing I do is check each one making sure they are all off! Yes there were two that stood there just burning light into the counter top. I am a woman of mystery if not consistency.

In the olden days – like the 1970s, hahaha, flashlights were not compact. The good ones used at least two D cell batteries and the really good ones used four or more of the little electricity making wonders. When camping and sleeping outside you always pointed the flashlight straight up and signaled the little green men on mars. Even sending out SOS signals! I know that some of the beams of light I sent out as a kid and yes even an adult, like last summer, are still floating around up there somewhere. That’s what my grandfather told me so long ago. And we all know that your grandfathers’ words are never questioned.

But! Yes a bright lighted “but.” But today a flashlight is stronger, brighter and much lighter. You can hold really good ones in the palm of your hand and they use button batteries. Or better yet most phones have flashlights built into them. Phones rarely need to have new batteries they get recharged daily. Oh where is the fun in that.

Trina lives in Eureka, Nevada. Follow her on Facebook or share with her at


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