During a thunderstorm one late summer afternoon several years ago, I advised one of my friends to wait until the storm was over to take a shower. He ignored my advice, under the assumption that the whole “don’t shower in thunderstorms” thing was based on some kind of urban myth. Everyone agreed that the suggestion was probably unfounded. I told them that it wasn’t. He showered anyway and lived.
Ever since that day, these “friends” have gone out of their way to find opportunities to relentlessly call me out for “believing in a stupid urban myth” and being the badass that I am, I’ve ignored the social pressure to concede.
Today, I stumbled upon proof that I have always been right regarding this matter. Mental Floss posted this scientifically-backed response to some girl’s question about whether or not it’s totally safe to shower in a thunderstorm. If you can’t trust Mental Floss, who can you trust?
Despite the fact that I now have relatively solid evidence on my side, these “friends” have continued to argue that they’re still correct. Today, I’m resuming the blog project to address this matter once and for all.
This is what the Mental Floss response said:
Take a shower or a bath or even start washing a load of dishes at the kitchen sink, though, and you open up the possibility that, given the option, you might be the better conductor for electricity to flow through. Metal is a good conductor and, like we already said, electricity from lightning strikes can and does flow through buildings’ metal pipes. The water flowing through these pipes—as nice as your local tap water might be—also contains impurities that help conduct the current.
Arguments that have been made against me today, as people grasp at straws to come up with some sort of defense for themselves:
1) “You said that he was going to die if he showered.”
My initial argument on that day was NOT that there’s a high likelihood of a person being harmed by the electrical current of a lightning strike while showering in a thunderstorm because there’s not a high likelihood of that. I’m sure people shower during thunderstorms all the time and we never hear about anyone dying because the likelihood is low. If the likelihood was high, there wouldn’t be people who believe this phenomenon is an urban myth because a ton of people would have been severely harmed or died this way. Since this is blatantly obvious, I would never say anything like that.
However, since I can’t go back to that day and get a recording of the conversation, there’s no proof that that wasn’t what I said. If you want to claim that that’s what I said just so you can argue for the sake of arguing, that’s on you. You’re ruining the nature of the game because now no one can ever win and so there’s no point in playing. If that’s all you’ve got, we’re at an impasse. That weakass excuse for an argument also makes it very clear that you know that I’m right, even if you won’t admit it. Therefore, I’m going to feel good about my superiority.
For the record, what I actually said was that this person should wait until after the storm was over because the electrical current of a lightning strike could make its way through the water supply and pipe infrastructure directly to the person so it’s safer to shower when there’s not a severe storm occurring right above the house. I didn’t get into the actual science-y details, but Mental Floss has nicely and succinctly presented them. My only argument was that it’s safer to shower when it’s not storming than when it is storming because of the aforementioned reason. This brings me to the next stupid claim…
2) “You’re only right because people have a higher likelihood of dying via lightning doing anything when it’s storming. If there’s no lighting, you can’t die from it. If there is lightning, your chances are obviously higher.” (That’s a paraphrased/combined version of several people’s arguments that were similar in nature)
I have no idea why everything comes down to a stupid technicality lately. Don’t try to take this win away from me with that bullshit. Thank you for finally admitting that I’m right, though, even if it’s in a backhanded way. You’re being much more adult about this than others (e.g. Drew).
You know that this was not my point. My point was that you have somewhat of an increased chance of being struck by lightning if you’re showering during a storm than if you were showering after the storm BECAUSE OF the properties of water and electrical currents and the infrastructure that makes the water supply to the shower happen and THIS POINT, specifically, is what no one believed and everyone made fun of me for and claimed to be an urban myth.
My point had nothing to do with the fact that you technically have a higher chance of being struck by lightning doing anything when there’s lightning happening around you than when there’s not. That’s dumb. Why would someone even care enough to make an argument like that? You could basically argue against almost anything like that. It’s basically like saying “Well, anything can happen.” That’s bullshit. That’s the biggest bullshit of all time.
Let’s say Drew was eating a hot dog and he wasn’t chewing it enough before he swallowed and I advised him to chew more thoroughly to prevent a choking incident and then everyone said, “People choking on hot dogs is an urban myth,” and then I showed you an x-ray of someone who had a piece of hot dog stuck in his right bronchus after a choking incident that occurred because he admittedly had not been chewing it into small enough pieces . If you were going to make an argument similar to your dumb lightning one, you would say “You were only right because people have a higher likelihood of choking on a hot dog if they’re eating a hot dog.”
Technically, you’d be right. If you’re not eating food, you can’t choke on it. However, if you had made that argument during the initial discussion, I wouldn’t have said you were wrong because that wasn’t my goddamn argument.
So, in this second part of the lightning situation, I wasn’t “only right” because you’re just trying to broaden the argument or whatever. I’m not even right or not right about that because it was never part of the issue until today and I never said it was true or false. I don’t even know what you’re trying to accomplish with this. There are no words that can form a sentence that accurately describes what you’re doing by saying that. Wait, I thought of one… “You’re being an idiot.”
You could choke or die at any time for no fault of your own doing almost anything. You’re more likely to choke when you’re eating. You’re more likely to die via lightning when it’s thunderstorming. However, there are better/safer ways to eat and choose thunderstorm activities and measures you can take to decrease the likelihood of an incident. I don’t think it’s unreasonable to take these minor changes/approaches into consideration.
You’re basically changing the subject from one argument that I was actually making to an argument that’s somewhat relevant (I guess…), but not the one that I’m proving to be right which is the one that you people have said is an urban myth for years. That stupid argument up there was never part of the picture until today when I had science and a reputable source on my side and yinz were trying desperately and pathetically to still be “right.”
Side note: Even if that’s logically all well and good, from a practical standpoint, you’re not actually more likely to get struck by lightning inside when it’s storming than when it’s not storming (unless you’re showering or using water that’s coming from the plumbing or talking on a non-cordless phone or using any electronic device that’s plugged into the power supply without a surge protector). Let’s be honest.
Normally, if lightning hits a house or other building, its inhabitants are pretty well protected.
3) “Even if you die from the electricity of the lightning strike in your shower, it’s not really ‘being struck by lightning.'”
The M-W definition of lighting…
: the flashing of light produced by a discharge of atmospheric electricity; also: the discharge itself
The discharge itself is the electrical current, dumbasses. It’s not being struck by lightning in the “getting directly hit while standing in an open field with nothing around you way,” but it’s still getting struck by lightning. You’re just getting struck with it indirectly instead of directly. This third argument is at the highest level of irrelevant bullshitty straw-grasping.
In conclusion, I never said that this nameless friend (Drew) was going to die or even probably going to die. In fact, I’m glad he didn’t die, contrary to popular belief. All I said was that there is an increased likelihood of injury and death when showering during thunderstorms – not even that it was a high likelihood, but that it was higher than waiting until after the storm passed – and that there were scientific reasons behind my concern.
I hope you all are crying right now. I hope your asshole hurts a little bit more than it used to. If it doesn’t, you live at a level of denial that I refuse to stoop to and therefore, I will not continue this conversation any further.
This isn’t an urban myth. It’s a real thing. It’s not a likely or probable thing, but it’s a real thing. You’re wrong. You’re wrong. You’re wrong.