I asked the pastor's wife to repeat herself to be sure I had heard correctly. "I was just saying that this morning I spanked the Keurig. I mean I really spanked it. Right over there." She nodded toward the kitchen sink. "Spanked the mess right out of that thing."
Just when you think you've heard it all, you discover the pastor's wife is smacking the coffee maker.
Another woman, a woman active in women's ministries, spoke up and said, "Everyone's doing it. It's all over the Internet."
There was a time when church ladies would have said, "Just because everyone else is doing it doesn't make it right." Alas, these are the times we live in.
I thought a Keurig was simply a pricey single-serve coffee maker that could brew coffee, tea, cider or hot chocolate from a little pod in under a minute. I had no idea these elite machines required spanking, but they do. The ladies were right, "Spanking the Keurig" is one of the hottest trends in coffee. That said, I wouldn't advise walking into a Starbucks and asking the barista if she has done any spanking lately.
Keurigs, though wildly popular, have been plagued by recalls, faulty parts and machines that one day simply gurgle and stop brewing a full cup. And now, someone, somewhere, madder than all get out that an expensive coffee maker stopped working, utilized good ol' American know-how and whacked the machine a good one, only to discover it returned to full power.
This desire to whack something back into working order is common to many of us. Who hasn't watched the evening news, wishing you could reach through the screen and gently whack a few folks up alongside the head to see if they might not return to full power. But this technique is for coffee makers, not humans. Although I will say I have seen this technique also used on vending machines and CD players with remarkable results.
Message boards are filled with Keurig spanking dos and don'ts -- advice on how hard to spank, when to spank and how many times to spank. It's like reading parenting manuals from the 1950s.
All advise unplugging the coffee maker before turning it upside down, before administering the spanking. This is excellent advice if you want to avoid filling out insurance claims stating that your bodily injuries, and the fire in your kitchen, were the result of spanking the coffee maker.
Many message board posters contend that several firm spanks are required, while one poster claimed 16 slaps were necessary. No doubt the suggested number of spanks bears a corollary to the level of caffeine deprivation of the one administering the spanking.
Caffeine or no caffeine, the idea of smacking a machine of any kind back into working order is extremely appealing.
Our coffee maker works fine. My question is, will a spanking work on a weed eater?
(Lori Borgman is author of "The Death of Common Sense and Profiles of Those Who Knew Him." Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org)