Woody Allen Confronts a Soda Dispenser

“I needed my afternoon refill on sugar and caffeine, so I went downstairs to the soda machine. I wanted a Coke, and all the cokes were in top row—row A. I put in my dollar, and punched in ‘A5.’ Any other number 1-8, would have done, but A5 caught my eye. The machine has this mechanical arm that starts moving and goes up and grabs your soda from you, and puts it in the dispenser where you can take it. But—would you believe it?—the mechanical arm grabbed the Coke in column 1! Coke A1 instead of A5! I mean, sure, yes, it was still the exact same soda—a regular Coke. I got my Coke. But still. Why couldn’t it just have fetched A5 like I asked? The arm still had to travel the same total horizontal distance, because it rests on the left side of the machine, and the dispenser is on the right side of the machine. So why couldn’t I be drinking A5 right now? Why not? Was this a little slight? Was it something about me? Is it something in the way I dress, or the way I talk, or the narrowness of my shoulders, that made the Coke machine think it didn’t need to take my order too seriously? Or was this some kind of big political statement, like, “I’ve spent my whole life as a mechanical arm in a soda machine, just so fancy intellectuals like you can write your screenplays, so, you know what, this time I’m going to do something slightly different from the thing you asked me to do”? I mean, sheesh, I’m sorry you’re not getting published, but it’s not my fault. Technology these days…It’s a matter of basic decency, or maybe one of Asimov’s Robot Laws or something. Just do what humans ask.”


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