The Devil’s In the Detail

The Devil didn’t invent war. He didn’t invent famine or pestilence, death or ignorance. He didn’t invent racism or misogyny, nor violence or murder.

He did invent the hand dryer.

You know the ones. The ones that, when you put your hands under, only seem to blow the water further up your arms, forcing you to wipe them on your jeans anyway or just suffer the dampness.

He isn’t responsible for arrogance or ego. He is responsible for that moment where your headphone lead catches on a door handle, ripping the earbuds out of your ears. For those people who stir their drinks too loudly, right behind your head, the spoon scratching and clanging against the porcelain. For people who hover over your shoulder while you’re using a computer.

He didn’t create rage, he created rage games. The sensitive controls, the lost progress, the inverted buttons, warped physics. The batteries in the controller dying right as you were about to do a combo. Lost connection as you were about to beat a boss.

No time for impatience, skip straight to the queue. People who don’t know how they work. Lines that don’t move but the moment you change to a different one, it speeds up and you watch as the person who was once behind you is now ahead. People who honk at you in traffic like you can single-handedly part the cars.

No need for intolerance when you can make the irritating cough. The one that you try to contain in the middle of the night to keep from waking others but instead only make things worse until tears are streaming down your face from holding it in. The one that you have to listen to on the commute to work, boosting up your music to try and drown it out but somehow it’s always impossible. (As you leave, your headphones catch on the arm rest.)

Laziness? Nah. How about the buffering circle instead? Right at a crucial moment of that movie you were watching, taking you out of the moment. Or downloads that crash at 99%. Or the little ‘Read’ icon to a message with no response.

Plasters that stick to your finger for half an hour before beginning to curl at the edges. Leads that don’t stretch far enough between an outlet and a surface. Alarms that go off in the middle of the night. Things that have been in the same spot for months going missing the moment you need them. Disappointing sequels. Reality TV. Monopoly. People who call you by the wrong name no matter how many times you correct them. Built-in appliances. Deliveries that you wait in for and never arrive.

The Devil didn’t invent the seven deadly sins or waste his time with jealousy or bitterness. Why go to the trouble of creating something so laborious when you can just invent the final straw and let humanity do the rest?

Why bother inventing war, when you can invent the hand dryer?


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