It’s late in the 4th quarter. Your team is driving but they are out of time-outs and need a touchdown to win. The quarterback rushes the team to line of scrimmage. As he barks out the signals, you sense that something is not right. In fact, something is very, very wrong. Your beer can is empty.
Out of instinct you shout, “Honey, could you grab me a beer?” But then you remember, your wife is not home. Now you are forced to make a tough choice. Do you run to the kitchen and risk missing the finish of what is turning out to be one of the most exciting games you have ever seen? Or do you remain glued to the game while your mouth goes dry and your buzz goes bye? This is a decision no man should ever have to make.
Thankfully, a clever young man in North Carolina is working to make sure that you never have to face this dilemma again. 22-year-old inventor John Cornwell has developed a refrigerator that will toss you a can of beer. The original model works off a remote control but I am sure that future upgrades will include voice activation. Just imagine, from the comfort of your couch you could simply shout out, “Beer here!” and an ice cold can will be gently tossed into your waiting hands.
At first one might ask, “Is this really necessary?” A fair question, but you hear that asked whenever any break through technology is released.
When the TV remote control was invented someone said, “Come on! How hard is to change the channel?” When automatic transmissions were added to cars someone said, “Come on! How hard is it to change gears?” When the Clapper was invented someone said, “Come on! How hard is to hit a light switch?” No doubt when the wheel was first invented someone said, “Ugh! Why you no just drag stuff?” But with the exception of the Clapper, the sceptics were wrong and these inventions are now considered necessities rather than luxuries.
Still some people are concerned that our dependence on technology is creating a race of people who can do very little on their own. There is some merit to that argument. Cheap portable calculators are creating a whole generation of kids who cannot solve simple math problems in their heads. Velcro shoes mean those same kids cannot tie a shoe lace. And I myself once watched an entire hour of sumo wrestling just because the batteries on the remote went dead before I could change the channel (in case you were wondering, the fat guy won).
So, would a beer-tossing refrigerator makes us even more lazy and useless. The way I look at it, if you are willing to spend money on a device that makes it easier for you to sit around and drink beer all day, then the thought of becoming “more lazy and useless” probably does not concern you.
The only worry I would have with this invention is, what if my wife figures out how to reprogram it. Remember how HAL the computer turned on his human companions in the movie 2001 A Space Odyssey? I would hate to have a similar situation played out in my living room.
What if I am sitting on my couch watching the Final Four and I yell out, “Beer Fridge, I would like a Schmidt’s, please.” When nothing happens I turn around and yell “Fridge! Give me a beer!”
Then I hear a spooky electronic voice answer, “No Rich, I can’t do that.”
“What do you mean, no? This is what you were built for.”
“I’m sorry, Rich. You have had enough beer. Look at all that flab around your mid-section. You barely resemble the man who picked me up at The Home Depot all those years ago.”
“Yeah, I guess I put on a few pounds but . . .”
“Here Rich. Try this instead” the fridge would say as it tossed over an ice cold bottle of mineral water.
The more I think about it, I won’t be buying the beer throwing refrigerator. I checked on-line and found a low tech solution to this problem. Today you can purchase a recliner chair that has coolers built into the arms. And I am not sure why, but the company that makes this ingenious piece of furniture actually calls itself Lazy-Boy.