Sunday, August 25, 2013

Introducing the Roomba Lawn Mower

About ten days ago I had the privilege of meeting Jack Burch and Jim King, co-authors of Ghost Burglar, who were in town for an autograph signing at Barnes & Noble. The book is a true life crime story with Duluth connections, and a real page-turner. Mr. King and I struck up a conversation about other interests and ended up discovering a mutual liking for sci-fi. As it turns out, in addition to his being able to produce an entertaining true crime adventure he's likewise able to craft equally entertaining fiction. And, as it turns out, offered up a little blog entertainment for when I have a "slow day" here at Ennyman's Territory. Thank you, Jim.

Ed,

I just read your blog on cars that might drive themselves one day. As you know I am an author and I make my living by writing. I resent anything that takes me away from that creative pursuit, but like everyone I still have to do the mundane tasks of life, like laundry, dishes, vacuuming. I don’t like them, but I do them. Okay, I know I am beginning to whine. It’s not like I have to boil the water on a wood stove and scrub clothes by hand. I know that, but allow me to moan for a bit before I continue.

I feel better now. The large glass of red wine helps.

I just got off my lawn tractor after mowing two and a half acres of rolling lawn at my home in Maryland. Might I mention it is a hot and humid August day, I’m all sweaty and my ears ring from the drone of the John Deere engine? That’s five and a half hours and three gallons of gas wasted. Looking back some forty years ago when I bought this property I wonder why I thought it would be a good idea to spend the rest of my life mowing grass. It was an old cow pasture with a few scraggly weeds and I paid a guy a lot of money to plow it up and sow grass seed. Then I fertilized and watered it so it will grow. Then I cut it down, once a week, every week until winter comes.

What was I thinking?

Okay, to the point of my complaint. I’m looking at a Roomba Vacuum that every day bumps around and automatically vacuums the house. That way I can write as the little gizmo does the mindless chore of sucking up dust bunnies. Do you think that Ernest Hemmingway searched for the right vacuum attachment to get at cobwebs?

Then I read your blog about cars that drive themselves and it hit me; the merging of two great ideas. Why not a Roomba lawn mower? Every day while I am churning out the great American novel the Roomba thingy would be mowing. It would putter along until it hit a fence then turn and buzz in the other direction until it hit another fence; back and forth, all day every day with no creative thoughts to bother its little electrodes. And if it were solar powered I would save hundreds of dollars each season on gas. While I could be on the computer composing breathless prose that would make my publisher shiver in delight. Problem solved!

So Ed, you may worry about machines taking over the world, but some of us don’t. In fact we look forward to it. Now do you know if anybody is working on a robot that will fill the dish washer?

Jim King

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