Microwave your checkbook
by Mad Dog
NCR Corporation recently showed a prototype appliance in London
called the Microwave Bank. Calling this an appliance is like calling Sybil a personality.
|| Life is getting
simpler all the time thanks to machines, inventions, and gadgets. We all love them. Well,
all except maybe Ted Kaczynski, who would have, had the mailman been able to locate that
remote cabin in Montana when he had the new Sharper Image catalog to deliver, causing Ted
to fall in love with a titanium-graphite paper clip holder with variable speed automatic
ejection. This would have led him to see the technological light and throw his manifesto
into his RoboBlender 4000, changing the course of history forever.
Machines exist to make things happen quicker and
more efficiently. Inventions let us automatically do things we could never do before. And
gadgets, well, they serve no real purpose other than to make money for the company putting
them out while using up precious drawer space and disappearing that one time in our life
when we could actually use them.
There are two schools of thought when it
comes to creating new inventions. First, theres the kitchen gadget school, which
says you need a separate utensil to perform each task, no matter how small, mundane, or
easily it can be done using an existing tool. Thats why yuppie kitchens have drawers
and walls filled with things like lemon peelers, hard boiled egg piercers, nut choppers,
potato chip bag openers, and corn on the cob butter holders, all chores that can very
easily be done with a good old knife.
Then theres the other school of
thought: consolidate everything we own into one unit. NCR Corporation, a company that
started out making cash registers and now prefers to just hear them ring, recently showed
a prototype appliance in London called the Microwave Bank. Calling this an appliance is
like calling Sybil a personality.
At the touch of a finger you can check the TV listings, locate a cooking show that suits
your mood, and then follow along, making the same dish they are. Well, as long as
theyre preparing a Weight Watchers frozen dinner.
|| The Microwave
Bank is a combination microwave oven, ATM, television, and computer. It looks just like a
regulation microwave oven except for the 10-inch liquid crystal screen built into the
front door that shows reruns of Ally McBeal instead of what you have cooking inside, which
is probably the reheated McDonalds special of the month, the Ally McVeal.
It will pay bills, keep track of your shopping list,
search the Web for recipes, and ruin any piece of meat you put in it. This result of 20th
century corporate drug-sniffing is either voice activated ("Find porn") or can
be used with a touch screen that shows a virtual keyboard ("Fidn pron"). This
means that at the touch of a finger you can check the TV listings, locate a cooking show
that suits your mood, and then follow along, making the same dish they are. Well, as long
as theyre preparing a Weight Watchers frozen dinner.
The Microwave Bank (advertising slogan:
"Tune in, turn on, turn it over") makes more sense than you might think. After
all, most homes these days already have a TV in the kitchen and counter space is quickly
going the way of a nutritious home cooked meal. Then theres our free time, which is
more precious than double frequent flier miles the day before going on vacation.
Its a safe bet G.E. will come out with Mr. Coughing, the combination coffee maker,
vaporizer, and home security system that takes care of all kinds of drips.
|| Think about it.
If we can combine our daily TV watching, cooking, and sex chat room time using this
appliance I figure wed have 30 minutes of extra time each day in which to ponder the
important things in life, like whether anyone cares what the hemlines will be like this
spring. That works out to an extra three and a half hours a week, 7.6 days a year, and a
whopping one and a half years during an average lifetime. When word about this gets out
you can expect NCR to petition the Food and Drug Administration to allow them to put
stickers on the boxes screaming: "Live Longer with Microwave Bank!".
This is only the beginning. If this catches on we can
expect to see other companies climbing on this multi-appliance bandwagon. Look for Chop!
Chop!, a combination food processor, chainsaw, and electric shaver. The new A-Ford-Able
will be a car/ATM/back-massager that makes paying your auto mechanic a less painful
experience. And its a safe bet G.E. will come out with Mr. Coughing, the combination
coffee maker, vaporizer, and home security system that takes care of all kinds of drips.
It doesnt get any better than this.
©1998 Mad Dog Productions, Inc. All
These columns appear in better newspapers across the country. Read
them while microwaving a bank teller.