Thursday, February 26, 2009

Non Inanimate Object

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?


  1. I see you've done quite a bit of research on inanimate objects and its etymology. Was this in hope that you could "fix" your treadmill's biased behavior?

  2. Well, if someone broke my arm I'd never forget. But you know, I'm not sure it's Dad that's the problem, I just think the treadmill has a thing for you and won't function properly for anyone else.

    I mean, if I put a book in the book rack, the treadmill proceeds to shake and tremble with the expressed intent of hindering my reading ability. However, when you put a book in the book rack, the treadmill stays stock-still just in case you might miss a word. Yup. It's definitely a "the treadmill likes you and nobody else" scenario.