My mother led most of her middle-aged life under the distinct impression that her small fleet of household appliances had the ability to understand the things she cursed at them when they didn't function properly. Toasters, vacuum cleaners and lawnmowers all felt the wrath of her bleepity-bleep tongue-lashings.
Thankfully, she passed along that family trait to me, which is why I found myself having a grand debate with my broken coffee machine just the other morning. Unlike my mother, however, I take it a tad further than simply scolding my can openers, remote controls and so forth. I actually hold sarcastic conversations aloud with my various pieces of malfunctioning machinery as I coax them with clever barbs in a shrill voice my girlfriend, Christine, never fully appreciates.
"Have you ever had tea?" I asked Maxwell, my coffee machine. "I assure you it's terrible. That's why I own a coffee machine instead of a tea machine. Is it too much to ask for a warm cup of Joe without using a pair of pliers, or are you just playing hard to get?
"I mean, the only purpose you serve in life is to make coffee, yet you somehow lack the ability to do even that. What's that say about you?"
In my household, it's my coffee maker that bears the most scars as a result of such fits, as I like to imagine all coffee makers do. In the overall scheme of things, your coffee maker — and I'm talking to fellow bona fide members of the caffeine club — is a really important piece of heavy household equipment.
Think about it: It's that one thing whose ability to work correctly can make or break an entire day. With no morning coffee, I am not even suited to put my pants on, much less the gumption to arrive at work half-naked.
But more importantly than anything, the coffee maker is the first piece of technological mayhem your average person deals with right after he wakes up. I don't know about you, but as soon as I rise, I'm in no shape to be maneuvering and meddling with a series of coded buttons, an array of lights and switches, and an eco-friendly setting that I could give a crappuccino about.
Are you even aware of just some of today's coffee maker abilities? Like everything else, they keeping adding pointless bells and whistles sure to tug at your purse strings. You would think those muttonheads who designed these things would eventually understand that the only thing a coffee maker should do is make coffee. Maybe a little clock or something, but that's it. Everything else just convolutes the whole just-peeled-my-eyes-open-from-my-forehead process.
Yes, watching last week's episode of "How I Met Your Mother" on a high-definition screen installed on the coffee pot makes for captivating television, especially if it gets cable, but please — for the love of God — just stick to having them make coffee correctly without the use of profanity.
Not to mention, the average life expectancy of a household coffee maker rivals that of your average swallow — African or European. (That instinctive Monty Python reference was worth it just for the two guys who are laughing at it right now.)
It all makes me wonder why we scream at our apathetic appliances — and I assure you, everyone has done it. Even if they could understand us and had a higher intelligence, yelling at them in a string of four-letter words is not a good way to get them to cooperate. Recalling just some of the things I've muttered under my breath to my microwave leads me to believe it has every reason to repeatedly stab my neck with a pencil in my sleep tonight.
But then again, this is the very same appliance that never cooks my pepperoni pizza Hot Pockets all the way through, so I feel that the complexities required in getting away with murder elude my lukewarm microwave.
Like my mother, I have from time to time been known to get violent with failing technology in order to get my point across. Granted, I have roughed up my vacuum cleaner pretty good over the years, but I once watched my mother eviscerate a state-of-the-art Hoover — with her bare hands, no less.
That poor thing never stood a chance.
And neither does Maxwell, my coffee maker.
To contact Will E Sanders, visit his website at willesanders.com, or send him an email at [email protected] To find out more about Will E Sanders and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.