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The toaster knew he wasn't liked by the refrigerator and said so to the microwave. "Doesn't like either of us," said the microwave cheerfully. "Partly because you're a morning type, I'm an evening type and he's an all-day type. Thinks the world is on his shoulders and that we're just conveniences. Don't take it on so much."
"But he doesn't like me," said the toaster.

“Okay," said the microwave, "he doesn't like you. But it isn't personal — he uses The Great Electricity to make cooling and we use it for heating. It's a philosophical difference. My view is that we all come into this world with a talent and these talents are accumulative and shouldn't divide us."

"My talent is making toast," said the toaster.

"That's right," said the microwave, "and you make good toast. Plus, don't forget, you make good pop-tarts. There's more to you than you realize."

"You can't toast," said the toaster.

"No, I can't," said the microwave somewhat stiffly. "and I remind you that it isn't polite to bring up a disability. What I can do I do extremely well even if I can't toast as you can. Yet, think of it this way, that's why you're needed around here because you do make toast so well. I'm needed just as you're needed."

The refrigerator said one word: "Slackers."

The microwave made to say something but the refrigerator interrupted, "I said `slackers' and I meant 'slackers'. Necessary, my ass! A toaster that hasn't changed design in 75 years and a microwave that now is only used to warm up day-old pizza and other leftovers. You're as pathetic as the oven."

"May I remind you," said the microwave, "that the oven is a star on holidays such as Thanksgiving and Christmas."

"Oh, great," said the refrigerator. "Yippee doodle. Two days a year he's a hero and for the rest of the year he needs cleaning. Let me bow down and worship. Pathetic."

"Leave the oven alone," said the toaster. "We're related."

"Yeah," said the refrigerator, " and you're both crummy. The last time the oven was cleaned was almost a year ago and the last time you had your crumb tray cleaned was when Eisenhower was president. Why am I surrounded by such losers?"

The air conditioner said, "May I say something? Being able to see both philosophies of cooling and heating I can be an arbitrator in this discussion. Now, the way I see it, is that we all use The Great Electricity yet we use it for different purposes. To each his own. Live and let live. Now — "

"Moron," said the refrigerator. "What a dork. Who invited you?"

"Same as invited me, dork," said the can opener. "You're all conveniences. Me? I'm the only necessity around here. Ever tried opening a can without a can opener? Is to laugh."

"Christ almighty," said the refrigerator. "Look who's talking. A $59.95 replacement for a $1.98 hand-held. Talk about your waste."

"Up yours," said the can opener. "Wanna talk about waste? Wanna talk about how many iceboxes you put out of work? About how many ice carriers, ice houses and wagon drivers you made obsolete? How you gorge on The Great Electricity and how we sip? You call us losers but you're a taker."

"That's it!" said the refrigerator, "now you're making me mad. Why don't you all shut up and let us who have work to do get on with it."

"Why don't you just blow a fuse," said the toaster.

There was a deathly, appalled, silence. "What I meant," stammered the toaster, "was that you shut up, too. Why don't you just shut up and, and, and -- "

"I think this has gone far enough," said the microwave. "Like it or not we're all in this together and we should make the best of it. We are what we are, there's no changing that. The air conditioner's right: live and let live. Let's consider before we say something we regret."

"I want an apology," said the refrigerator huffily, "now. And I want it known that I'm the powerful one around here. Get it? Got it? Good."

Meanwhile, miles away from the apologizing toaster, the generators, massive in their internal knowing of their essential being, smiled at each other. As creators of The Great Electricity they knew their position as fundamental. Without them there would be no toaster, refrigerator, microwave, air conditioner, and oven or can opener. Serene Gods serenely supplying. Supreme beings to which appliances were their fingerprints on the world. If an electrical pole were to fall in the middle of a deserted forest, they would hear it; if even the smallest appliance were to fail, they would note it. Mankind was there for the servicing of generators. The generators were omnipotent.

The computer smiled as he monitored the electrical grid with its many generators. With a flick of an electron he could power down some generators and power up others. If more of The Great Electricity were needed in one place, he would send it; if less, in other places, he would divert. Tirelessly he would keep the generators and the distribution system working to his plan.

He sensed a need: a light turned on in Seattle. Only a small night light yet in a millisecond the computer smoothed the flow, added a generator on line, switched power from one high tension line to another and added an additional 25 watts into King County while keeping a perfect balance across the entire country. Because of the computer not a ripple on the entire system. His might was all-powerful far beyond the understanding of even the generators.

In Seattle, Bill looked down at the newborn and wondered what she could be dreaming. He thought of Maxwell's 'what use is a baby?' knowing that she would grow into a world she would command and, as millions of fathers before him, he promised she would have anything that he could give her. He would give her the best of computers ever made.

It was then that the baby smiled. Power.


PS: This is the first time Power has been published. It was originally written for the birth of Bill Gate’s first child. Jennifer Katharine. Time flies: Jennifer is now 12.
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