I’ve had it. It’s over. I will never again stoop (or reach) to that level again. Oh, I know I have said this kind of thing before. I swore I’d give up golf (and that lasted for three days during a rainy period); I promised to end my addiction to Mike’s Hard Lemonade (I drink it after golf, now); and I pledged to forever be patient and understanding with my 18-year-old son who doesn’t do a darn thing around the house, and forgets to mow the lawn, and has a filthy room, and wears these disgusting sweat pants and needs to shave and…

But this time I mean it. I will never buy anything from a vending machine again. Ever.

When I was kid, one particular “vending machine” had a good gimmick. In New

York City there was a restaurant called the Automat. Inside was a wall that

reminded you of the inside of a post office, covered with hundreds of

compartments with shiny glass doors. Put in your coins, slide the door open

and reveal fresh apple pie, creamed spinach, Salisbury steak, meat loaf, or

roast chicken.

Behind those little dispensaries was a mammoth kitchen. And if you negotiated your gaze just right and peered behind the glass cubicles you’d

see dozens of bustling men and women in starched white uniforms sliding the cherry cobbler into the oven or basting the huge birds that would be roasted and made into turkey a la king.

The doors never got stuck but if, on occasion, your favorite vegetable was not in its slot, you simply vocalized, in a very polite New York way, thru

the culinary porthole: OUT OF CREAMED SPINACH. Before you knew it, a friendly hand appeared and placed the succulent side dish on a real china

plate within your hungry grasp.

Of course, I still offer my opinion to coin-op machines. Recently in the WISH-TV dining facility (a room with four vending machines and a fridge with several two-year-old remnants of moo-shoo pork), I lost my composure. I started screaming and punching one of the machines. Then I kicked it so hard that six Post-it notes requesting refunds fluttered to the floor.

First, the Yodels didn’t drop into the tray. Yodels, I have found, have a mind of their own. But, hey, I’m a flexible guy. Okay, no Yodels; I press Twinkies. Nope. Okay, how about BBQ potato chips? Still nothing. I press Dinty Moore Beef Stew. Zip. How about a bagel and cream cheese? Nada.

Finally…celery and carrot sticks tumble into the receptacle. Yeah…that’s

really what I wanted, anyway.

Last year in the United States, 14 people were killed by vending devices.

When I first read this, I assumed it was the mayo in the tuna fish sandwiches, or maybe bad chicken salad, but apparently it was the machine falling on people who had lost their temper and began shaking the behemoth.

They wanted Yodels and couldn’t get them. I feel their pain.

Last week, I put 50 cents in a machine for a cup of coffee. I pressed extra

cream, extra sugar and extra strong. The piping hot coffee came bubbling out

exactly as I had programmed it. Amazing. The fresh aroma of java wafted

into my nose, but the precious liquid swirled down the drain hole. There was

no cup.

Ain’t technology great? Now they drink it for you, too.

Watch for Dick Wolfsie Wednesdays in the Rushville Republican. Add a comment at www.rushvillerepublican.com.

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