Finding Lost Children

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A couple of days ago I had to go to a dealership to get my car fixed. I am not implying that I don't want my car to have children, because who am I to make that choice? More so, I was sent a letter about a recall on one of the parts (the hazards, actually), meaning that the dealership was obligated to fix my car while I watched television and drank free coffee from a vending machine?

"This is quite a deal," you may be thinking.

And I suppose it is. My philosophy was that for every ten minutes I had to wait, I would drink a different variation of coffee. "That'll show 'em to recall my parts," I thought. It didn't matter that I was up all night, a fact that may have been due more to the excitement of the day as opposed to the caffeine anyway. But in truth, it's not this coffee that intrigued me earlier today. It was the three-chambered snack machine next to it that contained M&Ms, nuts and Mike & Ikes. Granted, Mike and Ike are both nuts as actual people. That much has already been documented. However, the truly nutty aspect of this was a typewritten note attached to this machine which read, "Please be honest: this machine helps to find homeless children." Wow, to think that I thought this only dispensed candy, when it actually has the power to locate lost kids. That's one powerful machine, even more so than the coffee machine which happened to double as a hot chocolate maker?

I don't mean to personalize this column to merely address one machine at a random car dealership of which I am not mentioning the name. However, this is an example of what bad wording and grammar can do for a dealership. Once others spot the sentence on the machine, no doubt sobbing mothers will be pleading the machine to find long lost Tommy and Mary, when in reality all the mothers will be offered is a handful of pistachios. Some would argue that this is good enough, but I beg to differ -- because that's the type of person I am...

Or, maybe this isn't false advertising after all. Maybe this one machine can find children by taking advantage of the fact that kids love M&Ms. This is a fact just as well-known as broccoli being green, or greens sometimes being broccoli. So perhaps the kids will smell the candy from wherever they're at, and then come running to the dealership, hopefully looking both ways while passing each of the parked cars...

Regardless of the actual power of this machine, I left the dealership with fixed hazards, as well as with the knowledge that there are some lost kids out there -- and it's no wonder, considering that the only way we reach out to them is by placing machines in locations they will never think to enter...

But I digress.

Greg Gagliardi is a teacher and writer. His stream-of-consciousness weekly humor column, "Progressive Revelations," has been ongoing since 1998. (

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