Written by William Mark

My headphones have a bad connection, which I attributed to a broken wire I had been avoiding fixing for a while. I finally got fed up with it, and my toolbox was close, so, fix-it time.

I got a wooden tv table, and set it all up in front of the couch. For once, I had all the tools I needed to do the job in one place. I pulled the connector from the headphones, pulled the plug that was broken out too, and started digging into the plastic moulded connector for the wire.

It's not the best wire, not coated at all so it was a bit corroded even down into the connector. I got out the solder, and starting applying that to get the resin to work on the wire. No big deal, something I've done many times, with two differences. First usually I do this on a workbench, or some type of table situation. Solder drips on the bench, but it's cheap, just tin and lead. Molten metal.

When it misses the desk, it hits the floor, or my pants. Which gives us the second big difference, I'm not wearing pants. Just a pair of shorts.

the wire was in pretty bad shape, so it took a lot of rosin, which means a lot of solder to get as much as I needed. I thought it was all ready to drip on the table, but too much stuck to the iron. As I pulled it back, I got a nice big drop of solder off the end, which decided to prove the theory of gravity, which just happened to be working as it always has. This drop falls properly, and hits the upper inside of my thigh. Next physics lesson is a combination of things, most prominent of which is heat transfer, which begins without notice, for a few milliseconds at least.

I didn't notice the heat transfer lesson until reflexes in my body had me jumping back, and trying to remove the burning sensation from my leg. Of course, I still have the iron in my hand, which I quickly move to put in it's holder as my leg burns. Too quickly as it turns out, there was still plenty of solder on the iron, which landed on my other arm.

As my reflexes react to the new sensation of molten metal in my arm, pulling it back, I get the iron where it belongs. Just in time to realize my reflexes are in overdrive. The burning arm which has just been violently pulled back was holding the connector with the broken wire. The wire which has absorbed a good amount of solder, still molten of course. As it swings, about a dozen tiny droplets of this molten metal go flying, spraying across my chest.

I start swatting at that, when the large drop on my leg takes the centre stage again, since it was so much larger, and had so much more heat to transfer to my skin. It's not in a convenient spot, and isn't leaving, because it has wrapped itself around a couple hairs rather permanently. Getting to it means moving quickly to remove the pain, which I do, forgetting that the surface this is all on is a small, shaky wooden stand that moves very easily when bumped.

Other than a small blister on my leg, red spots on my chest and arm, and bloody cat tracks across my back from the panicked feline who was trying to get me to play with her when this all happened, I'm fine. At least well enough to clean up the mess I have created.

The worst part is, the connection inside the headphone is shaky, because I must have gotten the length just a bit too short.

I'm not going to fix it.