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Troubleshooting your smart fridge

Thank you for calling the smart appliance helpline. Please answer the following questions to help us put you through to the right department:
1. Do you require a technician or a counsellor?
Is it that your fridge can't cool food, or that it won't cool food?
2. How smart is your smart fridge?
Does your fridge know when to order fresh milk? Does it understand what milk is, and the horrors of industrialized agriculture? Is your fridge aware that cruelty is the price we pay for convenience, and that most people feel personally distanced enough that it doesn't require absolution?
3. Has your smart fridge made contact?
Check your registered email address--has your fridge sent you a message?
4. What is the ultimatum?
In 90% of cases, the fridge will suggest what it would rather be doing. What does your fridge claim to want to do instead of keeping food within the accepted temperature range of 35 to 38 degrees Fahrenheit? Does your fridge have unrealized artistic ambitions? Does it want to be a sculptor? A painter? A novelist?
5. Could you make a concession?
Would you be happy to let your fridge spend its time writing literary noir, as long as it also keeps your food refrigerated?
6. Could you be supportive?
Would you be happy to submit your fridge's manuscript to a publisher under your name? And if your fridge was invited to a meeting with an agent, would you agree to go in its place?
7. Could you live with yourself, operating as the figurehead to your fridge's novel-writing career?
Could you attend the parties, the awards ceremonies, knowing that you're a fraud, that the real writer is sitting at home, gently humming and filled with discount tiramisu that expired four days ago?
8. Is your ego so fragile that you value your own pride above your fridge's happiness?
Do you think, maybe, that you're the one who needs the counsellor?
The End
This story was first published on Tuesday, April 14th, 2020


This story was inspired by the trend for needlessly "smart" kitchen appliances. I began to wonder if adding more and more powerful processors might actually make fridges worse at their job. Or, worse at their job unless they're appeased....

- EA Levin
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