Often, journalism involves doing, reading, or sitting through things so the public does not have to.

We do the legwork, then write what we learned into a short and hopefully painless synopsis for our readers. It's one of the public service aspects of the job that I love most. However, it was not the first thing on my mind when I started drawing myself a bath recently.

Then again, neither was electric shock.

Sure, as I lay there in the tub listening to the thunder roll, it crossed my mind. At one point, I envisioned a cartoon from my elementary school health book warning against showering or bathing in a lightning storm, but that was years ago.

Certainly, if it was true, I'd have heard more about it by now, right? I reached to turn the water knob off.


I was shocked — both literally and figuratively. It didn't particularly hurt, but it was, well, shocking.

One day an anthropologist will use what I did next to characterize millennials: I did not get out of the tub. After all, I had a lot of fancy bath products in there with me. Waste not, want not.

I got shocked in the bathtub so you don't have to

So I just dried my hands, picked up my phone and started Googling.

Well, the internet confirmed, it is a thing. One meteorologist estimated it happens to about a dozen people a year.

New York Times investigates the claim:Never bathe or shower in a thunderstorm

So I finally got out of the tub, questions bouncing around my brain, and decided to make this experience one of those stories:

Readers, I got shocked in the tub so you don't have to.

Let me start by saying I live in a house that is old enough to be my grandparent — maybe even my great-grandparent. Most of our pipes are made of copper, an element known for its superior ability to conduct heat and electricity.

For this reason, lightning does not have to actually strike the pipes themselves to shock someone indoors, National Weather Service meteorologist Andrew Moulton told me later on the phone.

In fact, if you've also got metal plumbing, you and I just found a great excuse to avoid a lot of things during a thunderstorm.

Dishes, laundry, cleaning the toilet, filling a bucket to mop the floor? Sorry honey, I just value our lives too much.

If you enjoy learning from Brittany Crocker's run-ins with electricity, check out this story about electricity, a dead ant colony and her four-door sedan. You can reach Brittany Crocker at brittany.crocker@knoxnews.com. Follow her on Twitter @brittcrocker.