Inanimate objects are supposed to be, well, non-animate. The word is a combination, part of which is derived from the Latin word animus, which means spirit. (I know this is much more than you care to know, but be patient.) So, inanimate objects are supposed to be things without the breath of life in them—things without will or volition. Did you notice how many times I used the words “supposed to”? Guess what that means.
It means that we have an inanimate object that has will and discrimination. Our treadmill. It likes me. It hates Calvin. The treadmill runs for me. It stops for Calvin.
For example, I power up the treadmill, balance my glass of iced lemon water on one side, slip a brainless library thriller in the book rack (it’s my treat for exercising even though I despise exercise), and run. I adjust the speed up and down during my two miles and sometimes adjust the incline. The treadmill obeys all my requests perfectly and immediately.
Calvin powers up the treadmill. It runs happily at whatever speed or incline he turns it to. Until he steps on—then it stops. If he steps off, it runs again. He calls me, and we adjust the various belt pulleys, etc. It still stops whenever he gets on. So, he asks me to run. I step on and the treadmill runs perfectly for as long as I’m on. Then, he tries. It stops. It also runs perfectly for each of the children, including Luke whose weight is similar to Calvin’s. You might think it’s a glitch, but it’s been doing this for months—ever since Calvin broke its hydraulic arm (see blog post, Son of Samson). Our treadmill is punishing Calvin. “Bad Son of Samson—I won’t work for you anymore.” I wonder if it will ever forget what Calvin did to it. Or is a treadmill like an elephant?