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It says of the lazy death laser in the encyclopedia near my desk: A weapon of supposedly mass destruction that could allegedly wipe out nations, if only it would apply itself.

It is possibly the most genius invention Marx the Inventor (as he goes by; not that anyone knows his real name) ever came up with. He had attempted to make various things before it, but they always suffered a critical problem: they could never live up to expectations. His matter generator turned out to explode if milk and meat were inserted at the same time making it useless for the military, which certainly did not want to keep kosher. His perpetual motion machine turned out to be paradoxical to our space-time continuum and ended up ripping opening a portal to a different one, thus eradicating a small island east of Brazil no one really cared about, anyway.
 
Finally, nearing the age of ten, Marx was about ready to give up. But then he realized that the problem was not that his inventions were not great enough, but that they were trying to hard. They all did exactly what they said, but then it turned out this was not always desirable. Thus, a good invention should be able to do whatever it wanted, but not do it!

Thusly, Marx began working on the lazy death laser. He used all the best parts and make CG videos of what it might look on an unlucky target, sparing no particle effects or other Hollywood goodies. He estimated that it could probably decimate the Earth to one nine tenths its population. He ran MAD simulations--not that anything was mutual in them. This laser was simply the best.

Which is why it surprised him when no one wanted it. They requested a real demonstration, not his CG ones. He aimed the laser at the moon--a place he figured had a significantly lower population and nobody would mind its destruction. He pressed the button for FIRE and the fallowing words were printed on the output display: Why bother?

He sold no units. The output display said: I told you so.

At which point, Marx realized that neither did people want something that did exactly what they wanted, nor something that could, but wouldn't. People wanted something that was supposed to do exactly what they wanted, while not doing it well! Epiphanies about how the world works flooded his mind: This is why people use Windows! This is why we prefer cell phones dropping their calls to land lines! This is how simply every product on the face of the planet works!

The laser pondered the ideas. Then sighed. Why bother?, it said, and blew itself up, Marx, and most of the Western USA, along with it.

 

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