Requiem for a small kitchen appliance


Recently, I was in my room trying to write, waiting for the muse to move me when I was shaken out of my musings by a racket coming from the direction of the kitchen so I went to investigate.

It sounded like a car stuck in second gear as it ran back and forth over a body.

I walked in to see (and hear) Miss Cathy murdering (yet) another electric can opener.

I don’t know how she does it (actually I do; she presses down too hard on the handle, either in frustration or impatience, forcing the mechanism to grind to a halt) that is/was the fifth car opener to fail in three years.

Unplugging the machine; finally silencing the grinding and groaning, releasing the can of Bushes’ Baked Beans, hanging limp from the magnetic holder.

Freed from its gallows I could see that the top had been wrung a few times but never rotated enough so that the blade could do it’s job.

It was a sad sight, matched only by my mother’s perplexed face as she tried to comprehend ‘how’ it could possibly be her fault and not the machines when I told her she’d broken another can opener.

I wasn’t mad at her (for a change) so much as I was disappointed in myself because I broke my vow and hadn’t bought a second hand can opener online or one from a second hand shop as I’d done before (after wasting money on new ones the times before).

No, I was mad because I’d gone out and bought a brand new, top of the line stainless steel can opener from Macy’s at the unheard of price of $95.00 (I think it was on sale for $69.99 but, still).

The last used can opener broke after Miss Cathy manhandled it (and before you ‘ask’….it was perfectly fine and ‘gently-used’ when I’d bought it so “not” being new wasn’t the reason it broke).

Miss Cathy promised she wouldn’t use the new Cuisinart and she’d ask for my help whenever she needed a can opened and (putz that I am) I believed her.

So, I was mad at myself for:
1) Believing her and thinking she could change her behavior
b) For wasting my time (and money)

The reality is that she’s not doing anything wrong. If anything her behavior; forgetting (or breaking) her promises, mood swings and impulsiveness (to name a few) are pretty damn consistent with her diagnosis.

I realized all this as I was opening the can the old-fashioned way with a ‘hand’ opener; luckily I’d kept one ‘on hand’ for occasions such as this.

I told Miss Cathy that after five, count’m… five broken can openers in three years that at some point she has to take some personal responsibility in the matter-they can’t have all been ‘faulty’ can openers.

As I unplugged the Cuisinart I tried not to scold her or make her feel worse than she already did but I wasn’t going to molly-coddle her or let her get away with blaming the (victim) ‘appliance’ either.

The murdered appliance deserved better than that, so, farewell small kitchen appliance, thanks for trying to be of service as go off to some landfill, rest in peace can opener as you as you lie in a heap.

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