Perhaps we should talk about disobedient internet-connected ovens and what they have to do with Facebook's latest plan to spy on your life, but first we must admit the flaws of the modern American iron.
I just wrote that to see if I could generate a nonsensical first paragraph; wonder if I can tie them together. Let's see.
My iron has about 40 settings. Linen. Organic linen. Cotton. Foreign cotton. Hand-picked cotton. And so on down to the lightest setting, which produces the same effect you'd get by breathing on the fabric.
Of course it has steam, less steam or no steam at all. It has a retractable cord that zips into the body of the unit like a shamed snake. It is a lightweight marvel — and mostly useless, because I only want two settings: hot and cold, the latter also known as off. But here is how the iron behaves.
Plug it in; within a minute, a moistened finger hisses on its plate. Get out the shirt to be ironed; remove from hanger; apply iron, which has shut itself off. "Oh, I'm sorry, were you going to iron something? Well, set me up on my haunches and I heat up straight away."
While it heats, you brush your teeth, during which it completes the heating cycle and shuts itself off again, something you don't discover until you try to use it and some water dribbles out of its steam-holes like spittle from a passed-out drunk. So you set the iron back up, wait, then start to iron again. During the process, the light will go off to indicate that it has decided to cool down a little before we continue. That doesn't mean it's off, just that it's not heating at the moment, if that's OK with you. Wouldn't want to scorch anything!
It's been like that with every iron I've bought in the last 30 years because of some maddening hand-holding safety regulation. Apparently in the '70s, houses were going up in flames every day because someone left the iron on, so lawmakers insisted that the menacing devices shut themselves off.
Of course, we still wonder if we left the iron on when we leave for a vacation.
I thought of the morning struggle when I read a story about internet-connected ovens. You can turn them on with an app on your phone. If your battery dies, you starve, but that's the challenge of this bracing new age of opportunity. The real problem is that the ovens have been turning on in the middle of the night, as if they're dreaming.
Not to worry; we're sure the oven techies are working on a solution. We are in an era where no one is surprised they not only have to update the operating system for their oven, but agree to the terms and conditions before they make a pizza.
It made me wish that my phone could control my iron. Hold on, surely someone else has thought of this. Googling — ah. There's an Indiegogo fundraising page for an iron you control with your phone, and here's the detail that makes you weep: The app generates monthly usage statistics, so you not only can see how much time you're ironing, but compare it with previous months.
The danger with these appliance apps is that some miscreant in front of a computer in Bulgaria will hack into your iron and steal your monthly ironing usage data, which will go up for sale on that Dark Web we keep hearing about. The next thing you know your iron will have opened 16 credit card accounts in your name.
Which brings us to Facebook. I've no doubt that the internet-iron app will make you log in, so you can create separate profiles in your house to keep your ironing statistics uncontaminated by your housemates. (In the future people will go on vacation and think, "Oh, did I remember to log out of my iron?")
It will be easy to log in with your Facebook account, and the fine print will permit Facebook not only to collect your ironing data, but enable your phone's camera to take pictures of your shirts so they can gather your style preferences and sell you targeted ads for clothing,
Which brings us to Facebook's new feature: a dating app. You fill out a detailed profile, and they match you with someone.
I heard a radio interview with someone who'd used it, and she said, "It was amazing. I put in that I was a college graduate, and it matched me with other college graduates." Really! They're getting scary good. I'll bet it also matches you with people who share your species.
Anyway, please share this article on your Facebook page. Then you'll get targeted ads telling you about broiler-hot singles in your area who want to iron out your problems.
As the man who stood on a mountain and shouted out his secrets and heard them bounce back as an echo said: "Wow. It's like someone read my mind."