744 Wrong Hour, Wrong Day
Stuff usually goes wrong at the absolutely worst possible moment and or the worst possible day.
If the air conditioner goes blotto, chances are it'll be on the hottest day of the year, although there was one that recently waited for a temporary respite in the current heat wave. The exception that proves the rule.
If you discover your car has a flat, it's likely to be when you're already running late for an urgent appointment or on Christmas eve when you finally get to your holiday shopping. If you use mass transit, the derailment will happen at about the same time.
If there's a mouse in your house, you will first spot him after midnight.
And smoke alarm batteries, says one wag, are intentionally calculated to start beeping at 2 AM, especially if it and the ladder and the replacement battery (you DO have a replacement battery, don't you?) are on different floors. So there you are at 2:05 in the morning, staggering downstairs to get the ladder, dragging it up stairs hoping you won't awaken anyone else. And you get up and remove the alarm from the ceiling and realize it's connected to house current and the battery is only a backup. But you can neither open the battery compartment nor remove the alarm fully without unplugging it. And the plug is a confusing piece of flimsy plastic -- and if that tiny type is instruction on how to work the thing, it's too small for you to read. And when you get the house current disconnected and the alarm down and the battery compartment open and the battery out, the thing still beeps every five seconds for what seems like an eternity.
Flashlight batteries and rechargeables are a little more forgiving. But even if they weren't, they don't cause sleep disruptions even if the fizzle out at happen at bad hours.
Dashboard gauges also are manufactured to mislead you. When the gasoline meter fails, the needle goes up to "full," not down to empty. That had to be done on purpose.
If the light in the garage burns out, it will burn out at night, not in day light.
Gas stoves: if they have electric starters, those things that go click-click-click instead of a pilot light, the flint on the click-click-click gizmo will wear out and not work precisely when you're about to start cooking for your in-laws, who already hate you and already think you're a lousy cook.
A friend has theorized for a long time that all these machines are alien life forms that have come to earth to destroy us. Here is how he put it in an e-mail in February of 2010:
By Ross Mol:
A long time ago, before humans invented loin cloths, an alien form of life we would learn to see as "machines" did a reconnaissance of this planet. What they saw, from their standpoint, was a planet of tenders. So they dropped an amoeba form of their life form (probably a wheel) and we've been tending its evolving offspring ever since.
This has to be clarified with an explanation of differing perceptions of life and philosophy. Humans see life most basically from the perceived fact that they are mortal, that they are bound to an apparent limited time of existing. Therefore, most of their philosophies (and religions) revolve around the basic question "what is the meaning of life". Machines, on the other hand, are essentially immortal as long as their parts are maintained or replaced. Their philosophies revolve around function - around how they run. They like to run, to be operative. To keep running, they need tenders.
Humans think that machines serve them. Machines are glad to have humans maintain that illusion so they keep doing their job of tending. But from their standpoint, a morning commuter who thinks he's using his car to go to work, is actually giving his car a run (dogs seem to have humans trained also). Machines don't care where they run to, they just like to run.
But they do share a trait with humans - they are somewhat greedy and they like attention for attention's sake. They sit around and think up stuff like "I want a new spark plug"and then like a stubborn petulant child crossing its arms and puffing out it's cheek in a pout, refuse to function until they get what they want (from the tenders).
After the middle of the 20th century, machines assumed total control of the world. When the US set up missiles and missile defenses against the USSR and they did likewise against the US, they helped machines set up a single interlocked system. You can't mess with one part of this system without setting off the rest. More recently and primarily (but not entirely) with their computer contingent, they have taken over what Teilhard de Chardin described as the noosphere - a sphere humans thought was an extension of their own thinking.
Machines can be somewhat controlled once one understands their philosophical underpinnings. They are afraid of refusal of maintenance and/or willful destruction. That is the only thing that can put an end to a machine or groups of them.
But here is the problem and one absolutely has to understand this theory, believe it, and have the nerve or will to deal with it to overcome this problem. Machines are totally telepathic. That's why you don't hear them speak. If you threaten a machine, you absolutely, and this cannot be stressed to much, be totally willing, to the core of ones being, to carry out any threat one makes such as "I'm going to drive you off a cliff". Most humans have thoughts like "gee, I paid so much for it". If such a thought is even slightly preset, the machine will just laugh.
An experiment to test the theory was extensively conducted by the author on a very old Mercury automobile. If it wouldn't start, it was told "OK, to begin with you're going to lose one of your chrome strips", and then this was done by reaching under a loose end and tearing it off the car. Further threats were not necessary - it started - it knew the threats were real. Another time it was threatened with removal of the entire housing for the air filter, (from now on you're going to run on filthy city air) and that was done. Again it started and ran that way from then on. One can show no sympathy. That's just one example, but the theory has been verified many times and many machines have been destroyed in the process. This keeps the rest of them in line
Mol is a philosopher, thinker, social critic and humorist currently living in eastern Tennessee.
Used with the author's permission.
I'm Wes Richards. My opinions are my own but you're welcome to them.®
Wessay portion ©WJR 2010