Optimus Prime came into our lives in the summer of 2007.
We were living in Southie at the time and it was a hot, disgusting summer. In an attempt to beat the heat I meandered down to Family Dollar and spent $15 on an upright, oscillating fan. The brand name—”Optimus”—was one I’d never heard of, but when it’s crazy hot in a tiny gross apartment, you get decidedly less picky about brand recognition.
I brought Optimus home and he fit into our sketchy apartment beautifully. He was mostly quiet and tossed air around like a champ.
He wasn’t there more than a day before our roommate, the incomparable Jackie Partyka tabbed him “Optimus Prime.”
The name (and post-it note) stuck for the remainder of his days.
We’ve probably put roughly 80 bajillion hours of use on Optimus’ motor over the years. I’m a fan guy. I like to have a fan on when I go to sleep. I like to have a fan on when I’m watching television. I like to have a fan on when I’m blogging. Needless to say, he’s gotten plenty of work in over the years.
He moved to Cambridge with Grace and I in 2008 and was a prominent member of the household doing his thing almost year-round. Over the years, however, his age started to show. He got a little slow to start-up. He started to make more noise when oscillating. He needed to be turned up to the high setting to kick out the same amount of air he did on low as a younger fan. It was sad to watch.
The incessant heatwave this summer was finally too much for him to keep on keepin’ on.
From roughly early-June onward, anytime Optimus was unplugged or turned off, it became a real chore to get him up and running again. We had to remove the safety grill and start him Wright brothers-style by spinning the blades to get the motor kick-started.
At the end of July, no amount of kick-starting would get Optimus up and running.
In fact, the motor started to overheat to a downright scary level and we knew it was time to pull the plug, both figuratively and literally.
Optimus went to the big—and well-ventilated—fan store in the sky on August 1. You will be missed Optimus, you were the best fan I’ve ever had.
Rest easy, old friend.