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Tune-Up Terror

I just gotta tell you that I like computers a whole lot. They make my life easier. I like the fact that there's a computer overseeing the internals of my microwave oven, my stereo, and my television, because there's less chance that I can hurt myself with any of these devices. I sleep easier at night knowing that when I get up in the morning I won't press the wrong button on my microwave and cause it to explode or something; the computer inside, like all intelligent, self-preserving beings, will prevent me from doing so. I'm writing this on a computer right now, as a matter of fact. But friends, there are just some places where computers don't belong.

I took my car in for a tune-up recently at the local garage. I won't mention the name of the company, but they sell tires and have a blimp. Now where I come from, a tune-up consists of new spark-plugs, points, perhaps a new rotor cap, air and gas filters, and a timing adjustment. So I was a bit surprised when I saw . . .

The Interrogator.

The Interrogator was a large box roughly the size of a trash compactor. It was wheeled close to my car. From my vantage point in the lobby of the station I could feel my car - a small Mazda 626 - shiver with fear. Several mechanics spent many minutes inserting the tentacle-like appendages of The Interrogator into every orifice of my cowering Mazda. Under the hood, up the tailpipe! My poor car. Until then, it had been a tailpipe virgin, and I don't think it has gotten over the trauma to this day.

Once all the tentacles were firmly inserted, The Interrogator was fired up. With a voice eerily reminiscent of Darth Vader, it said (yes, I mean SAID), "Start the engine." The mechanics obeyed. For the next 15 minutes the computer inside The Interrogator examined my car. The mechanics stood close by, having coffee. In the lobby, I paced nervously.

Finally, to my relief, the tentacles were removed. The Interrogator produced a written report of everything it thought was wrong with my car, and the mechanics sprang into action fixing all of them. As The Interrogator was being wheeled away, I heard it say in that evil, deep voice, "We shall meet again, young Mazda."

The entire situation was quite disconcerting for me and my car, so we're going to steer clear of Darth Vader and the Blimp People from now on. But without computers, I wouldn't have very much to do, and you probably wouldn't be reading this, so I guess I still like them quite a bit. I just hope my microwave oven isn't really an Imperial Stormtrooper in disguise . . .

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