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The following is a Public Service Announcement from the
Polyinsulitis Foundation of America
(written by Craig JohnsonView Icon Profile)

Polyinsulitis is one of the fastest growing problems in the world today. It is caused by one thing and one thing only: INSULATORS.  Polyinsulitis is mildly contagious, and usually has a very short incubation period.  There is no known cure, but there is help. Chances are, you know somebody who has it.  Maybe even you have it.

Take our easy questionnaire to find out.

Each of the following 41 questions can be answered "yes" or "no".

  1. Do you spend an inordinate amount of time around railroad tracks, even though you aren't very interested in trains?

  2. Do you own more than 1/2 pound of oxalic acid?

  3. Have you ever allowed a houseplant to die in order to display more insulators in a window?

  4. Do you visit a website with insulators on it more than four times a month?

  5. Have you ever spent more than 20% of your disposable income on insulators?

  6. Do you anticipate the appearance of the mailman, already knowing the contents of packages he or she brings to your doorstep?

  7. Have you ever cried when a package arrived tinkling with the sound of broken glass?

  8. Have you ever given or received an insulator as a gift?

  9. Do you regularly use terms like "drip points", "wire groove" and "petticoat" when in the company of strangers?

  10. Do you know more than 5 other collectors, either personally or via e-mail?

  11. Have you deliberately taken time off work or school in order to attend an insulator show?

  12. Have you ever scolded a child or a pet for accidentally breaking an insulator?

  13. Do you have insulators in any location inside the home besides a bare windowsill?

  14. Do you ever clean and dust insulators as if they were pieces of fine furniture?

  15. Have you ever shown an insulator to somebody who does not collect them?

  16. Do you own a shovel, rake, or hoe that is dirty yet has never been used in the lawn or garden?

  17. Do you put light bulbs in boxes just so you can show off your more colorful pieces or to impress the neighbors?

  18. Do you ever spend more time with insulators than you spend in front of the TV?

  19. Have you ever deliberately tried to "convert" somebody into collecting?

  20. Have you ever constructed or used a device specifically designed to remove insulators from crossarms?

  21. Have you ever had a dream about an insulator or insulators?

  22. If so, do you recall the name or CD number of any insulator in that dream?

  23. When you see a train on TV, do you immediately ignore the train and intently study the picture to look for telegraph poles instead?

  24. When driving or bicycling, have you ever stomped on the brake or quickly pulled to the shoulder upon seeing a downed utility pole, regardless of the pole's apparent age or type?

  25. Have you ever gone to a flea market or garage sale for the sole purpose of seeing if they have insulators to sell?

  26. Is "smokey purple" or "cornflower blue" one of your favorite colors?

  27. Do you know the primary difference between a CD 154 and a CD 155?

  28. Have you ever put off doing dishes so that you could use the sink to clean an insulator?

  29. Have you ever had to rearrange furniture in order to better display insulators?

  30. Have you ever owned or used a book with the name "McDougald" on the cover?

  31. Have you ever photographed an insulator and posted the picture of it on the internet or e-mailed the picture to somebody?

  32. Do you check the glass & cup shelves and the front display case at the thrift store in case somebody there set out an upside-down EC&M or ramshorn insert thinking it was an antique drinking glass?

  33. Have you ever accidentally broken an insulator, and tried to repair or display it anyway instead of just throwing it away?

  34. Have you ever attended an insulator show or swap meet, and then had to find & use an ATM within the first hour?

  35. Do you have more than 4 insulators within reach of where you are sitting now?

  36. Have you ever purchased or attempted to purchase a novelty item (such as an Insulampclockthingie) simply because it had an insulator in it, despite how ugly the contraption might have been?

  37. Have you ever constructed an entire three bedroom house from crossarms and display boxes?

  38. Have you ever constructed a house purely as a means to store insulators?

  39. Does your family sleep outside with the dog because you had to remove the beds from the bedrooms to make room for insulators?

  40. Does your spouse prefer to sleep outside with the dog because his or her side of the bed is covered in insulators or the mailing boxes they came in?

  41. Do you have difficulty maneuvering across your living room/dining room/kitchen/bathroom floors because of wall-to-wall/floor-to-ceiling boxes filled with Styrofoam peanuts?

If you answered "yes" to at least five of these questions, then you may be infected with Polyinsulitis.

Here is the disease progression chart you can use to diagnose yourself. Count the number of questions you answered "yes" to, and refer to the following chart:

0-2 You probably do not have this disease... yet!
3-4 There is a chance that Polyinsulitis is latent in your system. It will only get worse.
5-15 Polyinsulitis is a major factor in your life. You definitely need help. Consult the resources listed below before it's too late.
16-25 The bug is running rampant through your system. Complete abstinence may help, but is more likely to make the disease worse. Send me 1 purple EC&M and call me in the morning.
26-41 The disease is in its terminal phase.  At this point there is no cure, and no going back. By this time, your collection probably numbers in the hundreds. Keep collecting those insulators and have a great time doing so!

If you think you have Polyinsulitis, don't worry.  You aren't alone.  Help is available.

Call 1-800-INS-ULITIS or log on to www.insulators.info right now to get help.

This has been a public service announcement for the Polyinsulitis Foundation of America.

IMPORTANT NOTE: This is intended to make light of a very serious illness. Please consult Insulators: A History and Guide to North American Pintype Insulators if you feel you may have contracted this disease. Do not attempt to call the toll-free number.

Questions numbered 37 and higher were contributed by ICON members.  Thanks :-)

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Written Thursday, December 7, 2000