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A Lighter View … Chucky Jr.

July 1, 1993

A Lighter View … Chucky Jr.

By Karen M. Morris, Humorist

I’ve had gas all my life. It’s not the kind of thing a person normally brags about, but when people visit me, they do notice my gas. And I love showing them how it works. I heat my home, dry my clothes, and cook my food…all with natural gas.

I’ve used a gas stove ever since I was old enough to fry bacon. I appreciated the fact that when you turned the burner on, it was on. And when you turned it off, it was off. I knew when you opened the oven door, it was like a blast furnace. One peek inside steamed up your glasses and singed off your eyebrows. For me, having gas was living the high life.

So, you can imagine my shock when we moved into our new house, and I discovered an electric stove hiding in the kitchen. I could tell by the way it was staring at me with its welded frame and adjustable feet, that we weren’t going to be friends. But one of us had to be adult, so I gave the electric monster a chance.

I placed a teapot on the burner, turned the knob, and waited. It took 10 minutes to get tepid. My glue gun had more juice. I went upstairs, cleaned out my sock drawer, and came back. The burner was now hot enough to make you uncomfortable if you laid on it for long periods of time. By the time the kettle finally did sputter out a whistle, I had grown old and died…no, not really. I actually joined thousands of other Americans and sought the Democratic nomination for president. But, being a Republican, I figured it was a long shot, so I settled on giving the stove a second chance.

The oven’s limitations made me adjust my cooking methods. If I planned on baking anything, I just turned the oven on the night before. Cakes took about two days and came out like bricks. Roasts took about a month, and I never used the self-cleaning cycle. I didn’t have that many years left on this earth. A typical meal at our house was Pop-Tarts, sushi and toast.

You could never tell if the burners were hot. At least with gas, if you saw fire shooting out the top of your stove or your pot holders were smoking, you knew not to stick your hand into the flames. But these electric burners didn’t even change color, so you had no idea what their mood was. In less than a week, we had met our medical deductible on self-inflicted burns alone. To prevent our health insurance from being canceled, I surrounded the stove with little orange road cones every time I used it. I had to face the facts—the stove was evil and, in all likelihood, a spawn of the Chucky doll, who is also evil.

When Wayne permanently disabled two burners by setting Styrofoam dishes on them and watching the plates melt, I announced I’d be doing all future cooking in the backyard over a fire pit. I set up a steel tripod with a grill grate over the campfire and we roasted marshmallows. It was the first decent meal we’d had in weeks.

After a steady diet of carbohydrates, Wayne weakened and said I could have a gas stove. We bought one at Shears, a well-known national chain store famous for its funny television commercials.

My new state-of-the-art gas range came with an electronic oven control panel. This was the motherboard. To operate anything on the unit, I had to go through her and punch in a set of secret codes. To bake squash, I typed the Cartesian coordinates for Hoboken. For pot roast, I had to do a fraction-decimal conversion. And for lasagna, I entered the chemical formula for pixie dust.

The second time I went to bake something, the entire stove shook and then shut down. A giant PF began flashing across the electronic panel. According to the manual, this did not stand for “pretty funny.” My oven had experienced a “power failure.” Mind you, nothing else in the house suffered a failure, including those cheap digital clocks that start blinking whenever I run the microwave. I keyed in prime numbers, ordinals, and random phone numbers, but nothing happened. Then reality hit. I’d have a better chance at cinching the Democratic nomination than fixing this stove.

Was it too much to ask an appliance to function properly? I kept her clean, never used the broiler, and always preheated. I turned to Wayne and said, “You know what we have to do.”

“A pre-emptive strike on Florida?” he replied.

“No,” I said sadly, shoving a marshmallow into his mouth. “We’ve got to get Chucky Jr. back.”

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