Who Burnt the Toast?

It all began with a very loud buzzing.

Jonathan Dohwer struck his alarm clock the same way he did almost every morning in the twilight that is 7:37 AM. He missed the snooze button. After a small struggle of fumbling around the buttons until he turned the incessant buzzing off, he disgruntledly stumbled from his bed. "Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise they say," Jonathan Dohwer thought to himself, "I guess they didn't have such annoying alarm clocks back then. Why must they make them so loud?"

He began his morning routine by dragging himself to his bathroom, where he promptly began to take a shower. He turned on the hot water and screamed as it was too hot. He frantically turned the cold water knob and jumped once again at the icy feel of the water, and the choking cloud of steam that now surrounded him. After spending four minutes fighting between too hot and too cold, never to find the happy medium that is "just right," he stomped out of the shower as he thought to himself, "Why can't they just make these showers so that the temperature is what it should be." As he was drying himself off after that very unrelaxing shower, he quickly remembered that he had an important client to meet in his office at 10 AM, and he could not afford to be late. However, the too-hot-too-cold shower and the loud buzzing had put this him in the mood that was very unbecoming of a man who was preparing to go to one of the most important meetings of his career.

The irate businessman took out a knife, two slices of bread, and some butter. After a few mechanical strokes, he shoved the bread into the toaster. Afterwards he attempted to watch the morning news. The irate business man was quickly stopped by the fact that the remote control was missing. "Why must they invent those things to be so small?" After a few minutes of searching he finally collected himself and pressed the button labeled "Power" on the television. A onslaught of black and white snow came with a roar to wish him good morning instead of the normal meteorologist. The irate businessman did not have time to complain about the lack of cable television due to unpaid bills because his irate thoughts were interrupted by another bout of loud buzzing. He suddenly changed his mantra to "Why do I have to have such a bad morning? I have an important meeting today. Damn all of these toasters and clocks and televisions! They're not working right and it's really starting to..."

It was then that the angry executive looked to his left and noticed that his toaster was spewing streaks of orange and gold. The smoke detector had probably already called the fire department automatically, and the owner would have to foot the bill. The angry executive did not like the thought. While putting out the fire he happened to look to his right and see that the clock on the coffee pot read 9:17 AM. The words from last night echoed in his mind quite clearly, "Don't forget to set your alarm clock forward before going to bed."

The professional realized that he had forgotten to do just that as he quickly grabbed his car keys. "I can still make it on time. It is only a 40 minute commute." He kept repeating to himself. The professional quickly jumped into his car and jabbed the key into the ignition. The car puttered, but did not fire. In a fury, he realized that there was no gasoline in the car, and that he would not be going much of anywhere this morning.

It all ended with a very loud scream.

The question remains, what caused all of Jonathan Dohwer's troubles, the alarm clock that never went off and the toaster that magically set the bread on fire all by itself, or did angry executive bring it upon himself? Almost any outsider would say that the irate businessman is to blame, yet how many times do we find ourselves in his position blaming the technology that surrounds us?

It baffles me how so many people, much like Jonathan Dohwer, find themselves believing that our own inventions are out to sabotage our daily lives. A toaster is nothing more than a small cooking device, and a clock is nothing more than a few spinning gears and gizmos that makes loud noises. They are designed to assist us in our existence, not to plot against us and overthrow the human race one angry executive at a time. Sure, there are large display clocks, small display clocks, clocks with obscene numbers of buttons, and old fashioned clocks with hands and two bells to wake you up. However, how many of them have you seen tell the wrong time just to displease you? To most of us, a metal casing, a few wires, a few knobs, and some springs are not threatening at all, but God forbid if they are thrown together to make a toaster which can only prepare bread that is always ashen and conveniently overcooked.

Sure, technology has the capacity to screw up; an assembly line can only be so perfect. Yet technology, even if it is placed in the hands of a professional, will always be at the mercy of its wielder's capacity, capability, and attentiveness. Thus, it is Jonathan Dohwers like you and me who are turning the dials and pressing the buttons that make us oversleep, while, with the assistance of a few metal coils and an electrical outlet, our toast is burning.

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