Sacrificial anode

It seems that I have been acting as a sacrificial anode. Of sorts.

If you don’t know what a sacrificial anode is, allow me to enlighten you:

A galvanic anode is the main component of a galvanic cathodic protection (CP) system used to protect buried or submerged metal structures from corrosion.
They are made from a metal alloy with a more “active” voltage (more negative electrochemical potential) than the metal of the structure. The difference in potential between the two metals means that the galvanic anode corrodes, so that the anode material is consumed in preference to the structure.
The loss (or sacrifice) of the anode material gives rise to the alternative name of sacrificial anode.

Basically, in layman’s terms, it’s a chunk of metal which is attached to another submerged piece of metal (like an oil rig leg) and rusts so that the other stuff doesn’t rust. It lays down its atoms so that the oil rig leg (or whatever) doesn’t have to.

And last night, I suddenly realised that that’s what I’ve been doing: sacrificing myself in order to protect my wife. Not by rusting, you understand, but by lying next to her in bed and being bitten by a succession of mosquitoes, which bite me in preference to biting her.
Of course, she claims that it’s purely chance that with a single mozzie in the room, I wake up looking like I’ve had an overnight attack of chicken pox, while her gently tanned skin remains smooth and soft and…wait… sorry – where was I again? Ah yes – she says it’s just chance, but I’ve done some rudimentary calculations and statistically, it seems that I have been imported solely the purposes of baby-making, lawn-mowing and to be a sacrificial anode. Of sorts.
Oh – and to prop up the previous ailing South African brewing industry, which I have now almost single-handedly turned into a global success story.
(It’s ok. No thanks necessary.)

Nothing good ever came out of being sacrificed. The chunk of metal only lasts a certain number of months or years before it is gone – eroded and corroded – and replaced. The sacrificial lamb is braai’ed, devoured and forgotten before you can say “Mint Sauce” and no-one ever remembers which actor played “Expendable Exploration Party Member 3” who was pushed into the flaming lava pit by the African tribesmen to appease their Gods in 1921’s The Adventures of Tarzan, now do they?

But with the baby-making completed and SAB-Miller back on an even keel, maybe I should be happy that the grass is still growing and the mozzies are still biting. The way my joints feel these days, maybe the corrosion metaphor is more than just a metaphor and I should be grateful that I still have a role in this place and that I’m not about to be replaced by a shiny new lump of zinc.

After all, although it is a fundamental element in making babies, zinc can’t mow the lawn and zinc can’t attract biting insects.
I think I’m safe for now…

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