Burning Down the House

Mr. Stupid-Head has a system. He knows that he has a tendency to put the kettle on the stove, turn on the stove, and then wander into his office (which is at the far end of the house) and not hear the kettle when it starts whistling.

So he has a system. He has a wind-up egg timer. He sets it for seven minutes and carries it into the office with him. That way, when the timer goes off, he’ll remember to go out and pour the hot water into the mug.

Tonight the system worked perfectly, except for one tiny detail. He was so busy thinking about whatever vastly important matters were at the forefront of his mind that he poured the hot water into the mug, set the kettle back on the burner, and walked out of the kitchen without turning off the burner.

There is no system that can help with this.

Fortunately, when he finally emerged from the office half an hour later, he noticed a smell rather like burning candles, and had no trouble figuring out what he had done wrong. Fortunately, nothing had caught on fire. The kettle is probably ruined, and maybe the heating element too. But Mr. Stupid-Head can afford a new kettle and a new heating element.

Mr. Stupid-Head is not, as far as we can tell, becoming senile. He just has lots of stuff rattling around in his brain. Sometimes it’s a little too interesting.

Don’t be like Mr. Stupid-Head.

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