The Simple Things!

by | Apr 2, 2020

Written 12 years ago by Alan F. Clarke

My 20 year old 4-cup Mr. Coffee coffee maker is leaking. I have to put twice as much water in it as I need for coffee and keep a towel under it for the leakage. So I have been looking to replace it for over two years now. Try and find a 4-cup coffee maker today.

I’ve been to Wally World, BJs, Sam’s Club, Target, and a host of other stores trying to find one and all I can come up with is 12-cup coffee makers.

I don’t make 12 cups!

I make one 4-cup cup!

Yeah, yeah. I know. Use less water, less coffee!

I don’t like reheated coffee. 

I want a simple 4-cup coffee maker which seems like a reasonable request.

Today you can get coffee makers that have alarm clocks, remote controls, and some probably even monitor the infant in the crib next to it. And they aren’t particularly expensive either.

I don’t want coffee makers like that. 

I just want to make a cup of coffee.

Just one cup of coffee, fresh, hot, and good to the last drop.

There’s a lesson for Detroit here too.

Make a simple car!

I don’t want a car that starts itself out in the driveway. I don’t want to be reminded by gongs to take the key out or buckle up my seatbelt.

I don’t want my headlights on during the day. I want to be able to say when they go on.

I don’t want a television set in the dash to tell me what’s to the rear. I turn my head and I even know how to use my mirrors.

I don’t want a computer keeping track of all the little nuances, quirks and strange noises my car makes – I do that myself. I immediately recognize when something isn’t quite right!

Give me a simple car with an engine, a transmission and differential (rear end), a reasonably comfortable seat and a key to start it up. A body that won’t rust away after a few years of road salt would be good too. And black is fine. It’s a car, not a fashion statement with me.

Put a real bumper on it, front and rear, not one of those plastic covers that fall off with the slightest bump.

Give me the good old $3.00 headlights that you can buy at Benny’s I don’t want an elaborate plastic monster that I have to bring it to the dealer to replace the bulb.

I grew up in an era when one had to actually THINK. There were train tracks next door that needed to be avoided. Things that could hurt you. Stupid things that could cause you pain and embarrassment. I thrived on learning how to avoid pain, mistakes and embarrassments.

I enjoy thinking. I enjoy the practice of making snap decisions. I enjoy monitoring the whimsies in my life, the rattles under the hood, the crust in my coffee cup. I thrive on deciding how fast the dollar bills fly out of my wallet. I sharpen my brain by avoiding teeth-clattering potholes on Main Street and remembering where they are for the next time. 

I’m 68 years old and I haven’t burned a house down or driven into a storefront yet! I’d like to keep it that way.

I’m used to solving my own problems and steering my own course. I’ve been doing it a long time now and I don’t want my finely honed brain dulled by having machines and lawmakers doing my thinking for me.

2020 PostScript: I found a 4-cup coffeemaker… but bought a car with all the stuff I didn’t really want. I hate myself!
Alan Clarke is a board member of East Greenwich News, a lover of convertibles, and an irascible coot.

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Bruce R. Mastracchio
Bruce R. Mastracchio
April 3, 2020 8:17 am

That Irascible Coot is now 80 years old !!!

Who woulda’ Thunk !

April 3, 2020 10:41 am

June, Bruce. I’m one of the babies in the class.

Carmen Lysaght
Carmen Lysaght
April 3, 2020 9:56 am

I have enjoyed reading Alan Clarke over the years. I have a few years on him so I can relate to this. So glad to know that he is on your board. Love it Alan.

April 3, 2020 10:06 am

I my ol’ Webster’s dictionary, Alan’s picture is alongside the definition of “curmudgeon.”

lynn Krim
lynn Krim
April 3, 2020 11:02 am

Excellent Alan, as usual you’re right on….. I’ve got one of those cars now and I jump every time it talks to me…..I talk back and tell it to leave me alone!


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