Whatever happened to electric blankets? Seems to me I never hear about them anymore, although a quick Google search tells me that they are still being sold. Just not so much as they were back in the 1970s and ‘80s, I guess.

Back then we had one on those electric blankets on our king-size bed, and that was when all the trouble happened.

My wife had gone to visit relatives for a few days and had left me strict instructions about cleaning, dusting, vacuuming and “keeping the house neat” while she was away and I was “without adult supervision.” (In my bachelor days, I had discovered that after a week or so, the dust doesn’t get any thicker — but that’s another story.) So I dutifully — if perhaps haphazardly — attended to all of my assigned chores. One of them was to change the sheets on our bed.

That was when I discovered how hard it is to get fitted sheets back onto a king-size bed. It’s harder than trying to teach a goat to gargle. It is close to impossible for one person to do it by himself, and by that I mean it is impossible for a man to do it. Apparently women have some sort of arcane training that is passed down from mother to daughter. They are taught how to do it all by themselves.

Anyway, after a certain amount of fumbling, mumbling and a few choice words, I finally got the sheets back on again.

But it turns out that in all my struggles with the sheets, I got the controls for the electric blanket mixed up. In case you don’t remember, king-size electric blankets came with two controls — a switch on a cord between the blanket and the wall outlet — so that each person could control the heat on his or her side of the blanket. So when I finally got the bed remade, the control for my side of the bed was on her side and her control was on my side.

The night my wife returned home happened to be somewhat chilly, so she reached down and turned up the heat on her side of the bed. But with the controls twisted, that increased the heat on my side. So I reached down and turned down the control on my side. That, of course, reduced the heat on my wife’s side, so she turned the control up a little more, which made it still warmer on my side.

So it went all night, with each of us becoming increasingly uncomfortable — being too hot or too cold — and neither of us getting much sleep that night.

We laughed about it later when we figured it out, and it always seemed to me a great practical joke you could play on someone if you could work it out to switch the controls on their electric blanket — if they still have one.

And I never had to change the sheets on our bed again.

— Paul Burri is an entrepreneur, inventor, columnist, engineer, guerrilla marketer and iconoclast. He is available to local organizations for speaking engagements and to local businesses for business consulting and/or mentoring. The opinions expressed are his and do not reflect the opinions or policies of any outside organization. Contact him at pburri@cox.net, follow him on Twitter: @BronxPaul, or click here to read previous columns.