The much maligned refrigerator
With the Super Bowl on it's way next weekend all attention will be centered on an important appliance in the armory of ease performing machines that Americans have in their homes.
No, it's not the television, it's the refrigerator.
Now I know I will get arguments from some, but when you really look at it the refrigerator is the most important appliance in the house. Besides all the rest have changed so much you can hardly recognize them these days. While all those new hot trends in appliances keep coming, the refrigerator just keeps it's cool.
Sure refrigerators/freezer combinations have gone frostless over the years, and they now come in bright colors rather than just white. They also dispense water and ice right from a compartment on the front of them, but no other basic appliance has been so reliable and so consistent. In fact, no appliance since the Super Bowl began in the late 1960's has remained so conservative in it's strategy toward human beings. Look how much others have changed.
Now that television you will watch next Sunday is not what you think. First of all it's no longer a television, but an entertainment center. You can do everything from shoot photon torpedoes at galactic raiders to interact with some guy who lives in Kuwait. Of course if you do that nowadays your entertainment center will probably also act as a big brother telling someone else that you are conversing with a guy who just may be a danger to everyone in the country, even if he is your brothers-wives-cousins-husband. Not bad for a device that started out as a little black and white light in the corner of a room that most people thought would never replace radio.
Then there is the washer and dryer. They now do everything but tie your shoes as you walk out the door. They can wash and press and tell you when you put in too much soap (I mean they tell you before you see the suds flowing down the stairs). They warn you when they are out of balance or if they are getting too hot. Washing clothes is not what it used to be. I'm sure we all miss washboards and clotheslines a lot.
Stoves are out of vogue. I mean a regular stove. Now you need a double oven, convection machine that costs more than a Corvette so that you can make gourmet dinners at the drop of a hat. Never mind that you can't cook Campbell's soup without burning it and the only setting you know for burner heat to fry eggs is high.
Or you can get a microwave and forget all that other stuff and live off of the heat it provides.
And I don't even want to talk about dishwashers. I did that in a previous column, so let's not get into that again.
No the refrigerator is the one common bond that most of us have with Super Bowl I. In fact they are so reliable, some of you out there may very well have the same machine you had when Green Bay beat Kansas City in Los Angeles for that first title in 1967.
I guess that's what I like about refrigerators. They are good and solid citizens in the world of appliance society. Everything else has gotten lighter and less reliable, but they just keep on getting better.
For instance, it used to be that if someone bought a television, they could plan on watching it for a long time before something went wrong with it. In fact if they bought a new one and gave it to one of their kids years later, that child would often eventually pass it on to someone else before it gave up the ghost. And when they did break you could get them fixed. Not any more.
A few years ago I bought a new 25 inch television with a years guarantee. A year guarantee on an electronic appliance used to mean you could count on it for years of reliable service. Now you know what it means? You might get one year and two days out of it.
But not refrigerators. Even cheap ones operate for years, even if they are abused.
But I think refrigerators are neat because they are mysterious. The make strange sounds, especially when they get old. The ice chunking off in the auto ice compartment sounds like something out of a Vincent Price movie. And just think of the exotic dishes they have held over the years. Of course some of those exotic dishes have turned into petrified remains that could be displayed at the CEU museum when left too long.
Part of that mystery is cleaning them. On second thought I guess that part doesn't fit into the mysterious category section to well, except to take a guess what will remove the stains that Uncle Harry's special spaghetti sauce made when your dog Masher got into it one night in 1982.
We won't even get into the refrigerator we all have at work.
So enjoy your fridge and make it your Super Bowl pal. It may very well be around to see future games you won't be around to cheer about.