Me and Funky Marie Curie

December 8, 2006

I swear the stainless beast winked at me from across the broad floor of the Goodwill Thrift store. Maybe it was just the glint of hard fluorescent lighting off its stainless steel shell, but at the time I would have sworn that it was flirting.

Having taken care of the essentials of moving into a new place — heat, electricity, DirecTV and DVR — my roomate and I are left with just two pressing issues inre: the new apartment. Namely, a washer/dryer and a microwave. Neither of us are ready to talk laundry, so starting last Saturday I set about tackling the microwave situation. My goal was to find a suitable oven at or around twenty dollars. Something small, two knobs…simple and cheap. Needless to say simple and cheap at even the bargainest of bargain stores will run you forty bucks easy, so by the beginning of the work week I resorted to Goodwill.

Which brings me back to the beauitful shiny brand new microwave/grilling oven tucked away in the corner of Goodwill. The owner’s manual was still inside. I didn’t think you could make a microwave out of metal, but the inside of this one was just as diamond-polished and spectacular as the outside. Unable to find a price tag, I called a clerk over.

“Sixty-five dollars,” she said. “New from Target.”

At what cost, such beauty? Such elegance? I deliberated. I sweated. I besseched the heavens for guidance. I rent my clothing and pulled out clumps of hair, so troubled was I by the consumer choice that confronted me.

“I’m not cleaning up that hair,” she said.

“Maginificent bastard.” I was only vaguely aware that she’d spoken.


“I was talking to the oven.”

“No talking to the appliances until you’ve purchased them. Goodwill policy.” I followed the trajectory of her finger to a sign on the wall.

Absolutely No Talking to Appliances.

Very well then.

Decision time. I took one last look at my stainless steel mistress, reached deep inside my soul, and purchased the ten-dollar GE Spacesaver II on the floor beside it.

microwave.jpgAnd it was a good decision. you can’t get any more funky, after all, than a ten-dollar microwave. Especially this one: a fifty-pound, wood-grained marvel from the days when the ability to mount your microwave oven on the bottom side of your cabinets was a huge deal.

I mean huuuge.

I now own the ’57 Chevy of microwave ovens. A Classic. It’s furniture, is what it is.

It sports twenty-two buttons on the front panel, including ones that say:


“Cook and Watch”


“Auto Bake”

I stood in front of the thing for fifteen minutes that first night trying to cook a bowl of instant grits. I set the clock fine, no problems. Then I set the timer for one minute and pressed start, only to watch the timer count down silently with no dicernable cooking going on whatsoever.

I was afraid I’d just laid down ten dollars for a fifty-pound egg-timer. Luckily, the “Cook and Watch” button fired up the spacesaver’s reactor immediately, although the timer counted up instead of down…thus the necessity to “watch” while you “cook.”

Which raised another question. How closely should i really watch a twenty year-old microwave in operation? She’s go to be leaking deadly waves, after all. And having eschewed the optional “Cancer Insurance” in my benefits package, I need to be careful. So I dove out of the kitchen and huddled against the living room wall, counting seconds on my wristwatch.

Of course I’d have to go back in there to shut the damned thing off. If I couldn’t figure out another way to turn it on, I’d have to invest in one of those lead vests that x-ray technicians wear. Small Price to pay, funky being by nature a tenous state and requiring constant vigilence to maintain.

Anyway, cowering there in the living room in the tornado drill position, I came up with the perfect name for my new old microwave:

Marie Curie.

“Marie Curie would murder a bag of microwave popcorn,” I proudly told my friend M.

“Why do you call your microwave Marie Curie?” M asked.

“Because she like, invented radioactivity,” I asnwered.

“That’s stupid,” she said. “Radioactivity is not the same as microwaves.”

“It’s similar,” I said.

“Not really,” she maintained. “I mean, they’re both invisible.”

“Exactly,” I said. 1-0 me.”

She then went on to say something about the properties of waves, radioactive elements, fissable materials, and other useless physics jargon that I couldn’t follow because of this weird piercing headache I seem to be getting a lot lately.

“Ok,” I said finally. “I’ll call it 1-1 if you stop talking. They can both make you sick. That’s 2-1 me.”

The problem with M is that she can never admit when she’s wrong, even after being so clearly bested in argument.

“Screw you,” she said. “You’re gonna get brain cancer.”

That’s ok.

Only the funky die young.




  1. Too too funny, Duck. Still laughing over that one. I needed a good read—time is going backwards!

  2. What would you have named the magnificent Bastard? Somehow, I think the Bastard would have loved to be taken home w/ Marie Curie. No?

  3. Rommel, of course, after the original Magnificent Bastard. Have you read his book?

  4. Haha. We’re going to hold onto him by the nose…

  5. Duck,

    You know, in Spain no one has microwaves. There’s lots of old people. LOTS. I’m not sure how I feel about old people, but I’ve decided I must find a microwave even if I die younger. Funky is essential, after all–especially in Barcelona.


  6. I have not laughed so hard in a long time. I needed that. Thanks.
    As for microwaves… I dated a guy in college who had one so old that it didn’t even stop when you opened it. It would just microwave the hell out of anything within a four foot radius. I guess maybe I will die of cancer, as I could never remember that, and nuked myself on many occasions.

  7. Wonderful information.. i will definitely visit again=D

Leave a Reply to HAT Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: