I had one yesterday: our altar arrangement from years past included a rack holding all of the processional items in the High Place, which was mounted in such a way that the bottom of the rack was about 30" above the floor (ostensibly so that the people in the pews could 'see them' when seated, but that's another story). It was almost impossible for the standard-issue altarboy to get the candles and fans down without a disaster, and in the intervening 15 years many an altarboy had been 'wounded' by candlewax or getting whacked with a fan, since the rack required the altarboy to hand-over-hand elevate these 3' long poles up into the air to get them into the rack. So, the subdeacons and adults invariably have to step in, which makes every procession and entrance a distracting 'cluster'.
Having put up with this for more than six years, I finally got the nerve up to tear down the rack and make new holders, putting the candles in very easy-to-use rests that leave the candles right at the same level one would normally hold them. One simply grabs the candle and lifts 1" and the candle comes out of the new sconce and requires no further hand positioning or precarious maneuvers. The altar servers love the new arrangement, and things have been going much smoother.
Until one of the boys, who's family comes very irregularly, shows up this Sunday. He apparently had no problem removing the candle, but entirely forgot how he did it by the end of the Little Entrance. I'm saying the prayers when I noticed that he had moved his hands down to very bottom end of the candle (it is about the length of a yard stick), with the glass end waiving about up above his head by about three feet. He was trying to balance the end of the candle on the top of the holder rather than just sliding it from the front the way he had pulled it out.
I whispered. The other servers were busy putting their gear away, and most of the adults are deaf and refuse to wear their hearing aids (there's a whole series of stories I could write on that). I shouted, which startled the people in the church, but I was worried he was going to let go and have the giant brass and glass candle come down on his (or someone else's) head. He ignored me and continued to try to balance the candle on the top of the sconce. Then I started clapping and shouting. Just as I was about to leave my place, he turned around and gave me this look like, "Hey, why are you making that racket? Don't you know this is a liturgy?" The adults, I think somewhat embarrassed by their missing out on what had happened, then went further into their Sgt. Schultz ("I zee nothing!") imitations and become motionless.
I walked over to the altarboy and inserted the candle into the sconce. "See, now you do it." He pulled it out, then began to hand-under-hand it back up into the air to try to balance it again! I grabbed the candle, "No, like this." It took three attempts before he could get the idea that the candle went straight from his hands right into the bracket, no up or down action required. He looked absolutely puzzled and spent the rest of the service staring at his nemesis.
After the service, one of the parishioners asked me, "What was going on up there?" I wanted to say, 'suicide prevention.' Instead, I said, "Just trying to help one of the boys out."