Regular friends of the decanter may recall that I recently noted the apparent descent of the port-swiller garage door opener into some kind of nervous breakdown.  Well, as of yesterday, I can report that the thing has gone utterly off the deep end and that it’s time to summon the men in the white coats.  While the engine hums along merrily enough, it no longer moves the chain one way or the other, suggesting that the little plastic cog-wheel in the bowels of the thing has finally stripped itself.

Oh, well.

I started noodling over whether it made sense to get the unit fixed or to replace it altogether.  (It’s at least twelve years old, but most of the bits are still in good working order.)  To this end, I wandered over to the LiftMaster website, where I stumbled across this little ditty:

Position on Garage Door Openers Manufactured Prior to 1993
We are committed to the highest standards of product safety. Over the years, the LiftMaster® brand has led the industry in introducing innovative product safety features. As a company, we have manufactured garage door openers for 50 years with a safety record that ranks as one of the best in the industry.In the early 1990s, the Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) enacted into law new rules ensuring that all garage door openers manufactured after 1992 had external entrapment protection devices, such as infrared sensors or sensing edges, in addition to the internal contact reverse mechanism. Garage door openers made prior to 1993 are safe and reliable if installed, tested, and maintained properly. However, the vast majority of these older units are not equipped with infrared sensors or other external entrapment protection devices, and thus do not meet today’s standards for garage door opener safety. To insure the highest degree of safety and customer satisfaction, we believe it is important that pre-1993 garage door openers are replaced, as opposed to being repaired.

Ah, this takes me back.  Indeed, I’m old enough to remember when garage door openers first hit the market, some time in the early to mid-70’s.  We moved to a new house in ’74.  I do not believe that the house from which we moved had an opener.  The new one certainly did at some point, but I don’t recall whether it was part of the original equipment.

And we certainly didn’t have infrared sensors, sensing edges or contact reverse mechanisms.  Instead, we developed the custom of the last kid out hitting the button by the workroom door and then running for it.  You could make it comfortably at about a half-height crouch.  A drop and roll would have been more dramatic, but with that concrete floor it would also have been more painful.

I believe we also went through a phase of experimental crushing of various objects (and no, this did not include my little sister, as much as I was sometimes tempted).

Good times.  Good times.

Of course, things have changed, and were I to let the gels do half the things that I did as a matter of routine in my own misspent yoot, CPS would swoop in and cart them off quicker than one could say “knife”.  I am not necessarily convinced that such change has been for the better.