Late last night, after everyone else was asleep, I was leaning back in my chair when I heard a resounding crack and all the lights went out. More worrisome, I smelled smoke.
My biggest fear was that the iPhone had blown up due to a power surge, but I had not connected it to its USB cable. It was working fine. Using the trusty Flashlight app on my iPhone, I investigated all major electronics and outlets in the vicinity: iMac, router, modem, external hard disk, printer, throttle, joystick, and rudder pedals. I found nothing wrong or warm.
I went downstairs and discovered that the downstairs was not affected. Only one circuit breaker had tripped. I flipped it on and went back upstairs. There, I noticed a grey patch on the white extension cord that leads to the printer. The cord was sliced down to the copper wire inside.
I examined my $16 folding Home Depot chair. The plastic foot is missing from one of the legs. (I should explain that I hate chairs on wheels. They distract me and are no good for flight simming.)
I conclude that the leg of the chair was on the extension cord and when I leaned back, it cut into the insulation and shorted out the circuit. The insulation melted or burned a bit, but the voltage passed harmlessly through the chair’s metal leg.
I suppose I was in no real danger, but would have read this lame excuse of a blog post if I hadn’t sensationalized the title? Are you even reading it now?