There is word for assigning animals, objects or even plants human characteristics.


Egg-headed scientists scoff at this idea. The learned men in the white lab coats will tell you it is foolish to endow a dumb animal with anything like emotion. But anyone who ever owned a doggy or a kitty will tell you the pet had a soul.
I take it a bit further. I am certain that many of the inanimate objects that we deal with on a day-today basis also have souls or can feel. I also think they have wicked timing, and a sense of humor.

Explain to me why else the light bulb in the bathroom will pick the first thing in the morning to blow out? Getting moving in the grey dawn is hard enough without the onerous task of changing the bulb in a fixture you can reach only by standing on a chair and stretching like you are doing yoga. Making you do this when half-awake has to give the bulb some sort of perverse pleasure. Doing this in the middle of the day is dangerous. Doing it before morning coffee, prior to brushing your teeth is asking for a trip to the E.R. Or at the very least to the hardware store to buy a replacement fixture for the one you tear from the ceiling in your sleepy clumsiness.

Computers don’t have ears. Why then do we talk to them? Or more properly put in my case at least, why do I swear at them? For me it’s because the evil things refuse to cooperate at the worst possible time. Anyone who doesn’t think computers have a mind of their own has never had an important work or school assignment due when the hard drive crashes. No one when faced with such a crisis has not addressed the machine with various spells and incantations mostly revolving around the chant “not now you worthless piece of feces.”

Cars know when you will be most inconvenienced by refusing to start. Flashlight batteries that work perfectly in broad daylight plot against you on dark and stormy power failure nights. Cell phones know exactly when to drop a call, right before the boss on the other end gives you the crucial instruction and you have to make him repeat himself. Two or three times. Bosses love repeating themselves. I swear I can hear the cellphone chuckle.

The tiny rational part of my mind knows this is silly. The rest of my mind knows it’s true.

Best advice my Dad ever gave me? Never let anything mechanical or electrical know you are in a hurry. They can smell it on you and will punish you.

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About James Rising

A recovering radio addict wrestles with the written word.
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