DAVID KRONEMYER: Gather ‘round while I tell you the tale of the bread machine and the lap-top computer. A true story it is, and a woeful one, too! So pay heed, you may achieve some edification with regards to the proper role, nature and function of all of these here new-fangled computational devices.
Once upon a time there was a bread machine – one of the nicer ones, you plop in a bunch of ingredients, it turns on at a designated time, heats up, churns them all up, and then bakes them into a crispy brown loaf. It was proud, rightfully so, of the delicious bread it made. Not only was it tasty to eat, but it also filled the house with a wonderful, congenial aroma. And it was ready for you, all fresh and ready, in the morning. For a while, we were using it every other night or so. It lived on the island in the center of the kitchen.
Then one day, a stranger came to town. It was a brand spankin’ new lap-top computer. This was several years ago, so they weren’t quite as prevalent as they are, today – and, they were a lot more expensive. This hot-shot model was tricked out to the max, nice big screen, fastest speed available, huge RAM, capacious hard disk – you name it, the works. Needless to say, it looked down on the bread machine. In fact, it disdained the bread machine. The bread machine had a small micro-processor, of course, to regulate its timing and baking functions. But nothing at all like the gargantuan super-power of the lap-top. This made the bread machine feel somewhat inferior. “I’m just as good as you are,” it said. “I just do something different. You may be smarter than me, but you can’t bake bread!” The lap-top replied, haughtily, “whatever.”
One night the lap-top was set down on the center island of the kitchen. Not its usual home, but then again, nowhere was; one of its virtues was its ultra-portability. And, its light weight. This gave the bread machine an idea.
In the middle of the night, while the lap-top was asleep, the bread machine turned itself on. It warmed itself up to a cozy 350°. And then it started churning, mixing together all of the ingredients, carefully sifted into its cavernous maw the evening before. “Churn, churn, churn” went the bread machine, thumping and vibrating as the dough was mixed. The lap-top started vibrating, too – it wasn’t turning itself on, rather, it just was responding to the sympathetic vibration set up on the counter-top, by the bread machine. And as the lap-top hopped up and down, in time with the bread machine as it ground away, it moved ever closer to the edge of the island.
The bread machine saw all of this happening. “This is my chance to show that lap-top computer who’s boss!”, it thought. So it kept on churning and vibrating, until the dough was just about ready to start cooking.
At this precise instant, the lap-top reached the edge of the counter. It hung precariously over, teetering and tottering like a sparrow balanced on a wire. And then, our old friend gravity got the better of it. The lap-top went crashing down to the floor.
The bread machine breathed a contended sigh, as the loaf started to rise and begin its slow roasting process. The lap-top was not heard from again.