Smoke Alarm Blues

It bleated away this morning, waking me up.  It’s supposed to chirp intermittently when the battery is dying but this was a continual blast on the eardrums.  Smoke?  No.  Fire?  Not at all.  I pressed the Reset button and it stopped, only to resume ten minutes later.

Okay, Bruce.  The alarm is in your hand, having been twisted off from its ceiling mount.  Look for instructions on opening the thing up so you can switch batteries.  No instructions.  Very well.  Hold the bottom part and twist the top part.  Tight as a drum.  No problem.  There seems to be a thumb hole on the side of the apparatus.  Get your digit in there and pull the top off.  Tight as two drums.  All right.  Stare at the alarm for awhile.  Nothing magically opens.  After more staring, I realize that I have no clue about how to get to the battery.  And I feel incompetent.  How can this beast be consumer-proof?  I must be missing something.  No, I’m not.  I’m a smart person.  But the top persists in remaining unopened.  (Sigh)

I considered taking the alarm to Home Hardware and asking one of the employees for help.  But here comes Renato.  I’ll let him have a go.  My friend picks up the circular warning machine, glances at it for a few seconds, puts his thumb in the hole … and pulls outward, like opening a drawer.  And there revealed was a D battery.  More staring, accompanied by gulping.

Renato smiled.  I sort of did.  Inside, it was more like dying.  What does it mean that my university-educated brain couldn’t figure this out?  That this human being overflowing with Buddhist insights was incapable of uncovering a battery.

I thought about this on and off all day.  Am I a stupid person?  No.  Am I a bad person?  Certainly not.  Am I an imperfect person, complete with this deficiency and that?  Yes.

And so I sit in my man chair, humbled by a gadget.  What’s happening right now?  Sadness.  A wee bit of shame.  And a little chuckle.

Feet of clay
Brain of mush
Heart of gold
I’ll take it

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