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Fairy Tale Stew

The Thermos and the Thermostat

Once upon a time there was a thermos with hot coffee in it, and the thermos said, "Even though it is cold outside, I can keep the coffee inside me piping hot for as long as it stays there, because I am insulated," because the thermos was very proud of its insulation, but it said this while it was resting on a counter next to a thermostat, and the thermostat heard the thermos and said, "I hear tell that you can keep coffee inside you hot even when it's cold out," and the thermos said, "Where did you hear that?" and the thermostat said, "From you, just now," and the thermos said, "Oh, ok."

Well the thermostat said, "You have an important job, regulating the temperature of the coffee inside you, but I'm in charge of regulating the temperature of the entire household, because I am so much more powerful," and the thermos felt dwarfed by the unimaginable power of the thermostat, and then he got to thinking what it would feel like if the entire household was stuffed inside him, and he got nauseous just thinking about it. Because, let's face it, no one wants to have the contents of an entire household inside one, unless of course one is an actual house.

The thermostat said, "I am so powerful that I can singlehandedly make your job easier or more difficult, because I control the temperature you must insulate from the coffee inside you," and the thermos said, "Whoa," and the thermostat said, "Allow me to demonstrate," and the thermostat turned itself way up, and it became scorching hot inside the house, and the thermos said, "You are right, because now that the household is very hot, it is much easier to keep the coffee inside me hot." But then the thermostat said, "Now watch this," and turned itself way down, and the house became freezing cold, and the thermos worked and worked and worked and worked and worked but sensed little bits of cold seeping past its defenses, and the coffee said, "Hey, what's the big idea?" and if the thermos had had a face, it would have been taut from exertion, but it didn't, so it wasn't.

The thermos said, "It is too difficult to keep the coffee inside me hot. Please turn the temperature of the household back up," but the thermostat said, "Fat chance! Now I will teach you the error of your boastful ways," and turned itself down even further, until it was utterly frigid, and in time the thermos failed completely, and the coffee said, "Aahh!" and froze solid and burst open the thermos and killed it.

The moral of this story would be, "Don't be boastful, or someone will come along and make coffee freeze inside of you," but just then some people came home and found the house freezing cold with busted water pipes and everything, and they bought a new thermostat and threw the old one away, and later the thermostat (the old one, that is) was lying in a landfill somewhere, and the sun beat down on it, and it got really hot, and the thermostat said, "It's too hot here," and turned itself down, only the temperature didn't go down because the thermostat wasn't connected to anything, and it lay there and got sunburnt.

The moral of this story would be, "Don't abuse the power you are given, or someone will take it away and throw you in a landfill," but just then a little girl came by and saw the sunburnt thermostat and said, "This sunburnt thermostat looks like a rose," which it did, except for being kind of angular and having a temperature gauge on it and electrical wiring sticking out the back. So the little girl took it home and put it in a vase of water on her dresser.

The moral of this story would be, "Never despair, because no matter how bad things look, a little girl might come along and put you in a vase of water," but just then the little girl's mom came by and saw the thermostat and threw it away, and the thermostat wound up back in the landfill.

And the thermostat thought to itself, "Now that I am lying helpless in a landfill, I have learned the true moral of my story," only nobody ever found out what it was, because just then somebody came by and stepped on it.