And Then… The Microwave Died

You don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone.


Don’t think so? Consider this.

For if anything sums up modern life, I’d nominate the microwave.

What if many of the important things we take for granted were suddenly gone, in the poof of a blown fuse, burned-out circuit, or dead fan? What then? I’ll tell you what: you’d stare bug-eyed at the failed appliance wondering what to do.

Well, I did.

Some of you may think, “Jezz, Dave, get a grip. It’s just a microwave,” which on the surface is quite true, but that’s not the point of this screed. It is indeed how integrated the microwave is to our daily meal and snack preparations.

To wit:

It’s movie night. You’ve put together your beverage of choice, picked something to watch, which one might think is more important that what to drink, but…, and are looking forward to lounging in your comfy, comfy chair when you realize that all you have is microwave popcorn and no functioning microwave. You recognize quickly that the evening is ruined.

(And yes I know there’s always pretzels.)

In yon olden days, we had a popcorn popper, and a bag of unpopped kernels, and you had to melt the butter-often in the microwave, but not always, which meant getting out a pan and heating it up. The whole process was a lot of work. Not so with Orville and his microwave miracle. Put in the bag, push the “popcorn” button, and in less than 5 minutes, nirvana.

Need more?

Think of all the leftovers you reheat with as microwave. I’ll give you a few minutes. Now think how you’re going to reheat them? Stovetop? Sure, just need a pan, time, and the forbearance not to burn it. Oven? Always an option. Just need the appropriate cookware, time, and, again, forbearance. The same applies to toaster ovens and barbecues.

It also means a lot more planning. No tossing the container, whatever it may contain, into the microwave, pushing a few buttons and waiting for the ring-a-ding-ding to let you know it’s a hot gooey mess.

And snacks?

Without the microwave, snacks are pointless. Well, the kinds you have to heat up. Humans of the American variety have been conditioned over many many years to view microwave snacks as their God-given right and if that is lost to them, then there’s no point in living. Might as well lie on the couch and wait for the icy hand of death.

Or your wife telling you to get over it. (It doesn’t have to be a wife or significant other. It can be a concerned friend or family member, or merely someone who’s tired of hearing about it.)

The answer, naturally, is to replace the non-functioning unit with a functioning one, which, at some point, will occur due to the above admonitions. But that takes work too.


Modern life is so terribly cruel.

©2020 David William Pearce

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