If you are like me, your life isn’t exactly a cornucopia of wonder and merriment. In my average work day, the part I look forward to most is 5:00 PM when I go get myself a granola bar. Yes, my life is a rich tapestry. Let this be a lesson to you, though; there is no action in life so mundane that it is not a potential source for epic triumph.
Our story begins in the traditional way, a quest for bounty. Today, as always, the treasure I sought was a granola bar. I head to the machine but- What ho, what is this?
Now, many of you will look at this miserable snarl of snackery and think, “Well, that guy got screwed out of a lot of money.” This, however, is no longer true. Allow me to give you a lesson in modern vending science. A vending machine now has a sensor below the food. When you choose an item, it turns the screws the prescribed amount, dropping an item past the sensor. If the sensor does not detect an item, it assumes there was an empty slot and turns another increment. If nothing is detected this time, it assumes the item is sold out, and asks you to try a different selection. Our popcorn seeking friend had simply been forced to settle for his second choice.
Where he saw an obstacle, however, I saw a challenge. Let us see if we cannot lend logic to the problem, shall we? Clearly the popcorn is stuck, but only slightly. What is required here is something to dislodge them. Situated directly above the popcorn blockage is a hefty bag of pretzels. I inserted my dollar and made my selection. Once and twice the machine tried to give me my salty twists of dough, but the nefarious popcorn proved too mighty a foe, and so the blockage remained, plus two additional snacks. The machine asked me to make another choice. By now the mass of items had swollen in size, and was under-hanging the potato chips. These were the logical choice. Once and twice the machine eagerly endeavored to provide, but again the popcorn, though loosened, held its ground, and my chips with it. I was asked to make another choice.
I do not think I can be blamed for losing heart at this point. After all, my clever attempts to use the laws of physics to my advantage resulted in nothing but a pile of snacks three times the size, and none of them in my hands. I chose my precious granola, watched as it cheerfully leapt into the bin, and solemnly retrieved it. When the bin’s protective cover came down, though, the mountain of crunchy treasure shuddered and slid. With calculated force, I tapped the glass. The result?
SUCCESS! Though three of the bags of popcorn rigidly refused to be vended, two bags of chips, two bags of pretzels, and a granola bar were mine! I had won the day! So great a triumph over the forces of chaos surely deserved a beverage of equal worth. I forewent my usual Diet Coke. Today, I would feast on a Lemonade Iced Tea! I sought out the machine, inserted my money, made my selection, and…
Yes, this too I was denied! But did I despair? NO, because I knew the secrets of these deceitful machines now! All told, my $2.85 earned me a bottle of Sweet Tea, two bottles of Lemonade Iced Tea, a bag of popcorn, two bags of chips, two bags of pretzels, and a granola bar!
Like all achievements worthy of myth, legend, story, and song, this victory will be doubted by some. As for the rest of you, take this knowledge of my mighty victory and use it well, should ever there come a day that the keeper of the chips would deny you your rightful confection! Wisdom and guile will always overcome the forces of evil!