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Lights out

“Where were you when the lights went out?” is a question some people in New Orleans may be asking following the more than 30-minute blackout inside the New Orleans Superdome during Sunday’s Super Bowl.

A lot of sports fans nationwide may probably be asking that question, and I can’t help but recall the Northeast blackout of 1965 affecting parts of Ontario in Canada and Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont, New York and New Jersey.

Over 30 million people lost power for up to 12 hours, and word of mouth has it that New York City experienced a large increase in its birthrate approximately nine months after the blackout.

This being a “G” rated column, I won’t speculate as to the reason behind the up-tick in births, but you get the picture.

With modern man’s dependency on technology and electricity, the smallest power outage gets media attention.

Honest Abe Lincoln read and studied by candlelight, and electricity didn’t come to some areas of Southside until the second half of the last century.

Grandma’s quaint stories of oil lanterns and stacking wood for the fireplace may sound romantic, but outdoor potties and freezing cold nights in drafty and non-insulated houses do not.

Despite modern technology, Mother Nature always has her way, and with the wacky weather we’ve experienced recently, including the derecho last year, you may be looking for more opportunities to grumble when your lights don’t work.

Utility companies have a thankless job, and many times a hard and dangerous one, just witness the recent disasters fostered by hurricanes like Super Storm Sandy.

And, with a nationwide power grid struggling to keep pace with the increasing demands of everyday existence, and with a potential for solar-related catastrophes both real and imagined, it may be time to think outside the box.

Money, or lack thereof, is always an issue, much like the transportation issues facing this nation, and I’d hate to find out how many bridges I cross on a weekly basis may need serious attention.

There’s no easy answer, and the solutions may be complicated but need to be on everybody’s radar.

Otherwise, Tom Bodett won’t be able to “leave the light on for ya.”