August 11, 2015

Happy Birthday Dr. Howard, Dr. Fine, Dr. Howard

Now I know how the Three Stooges must have felt in the 1934 Academy Award-nominated classic Men in Black. That was the famous short film in which Moe, Larry and Curly graduated from medical school "with the highest temperatures in our class" and were assigned to work in a hospital.

The running gag was that the the loud speaker in the hospital's dispatch board constantly screamed, "Calling Doctor Howard, Doctor Fine, Doctor Howard," while the annoyed Stooges ran from patient to patient causing chaos along the way. Finally they were so tired of the loud speaker that they tried to destroy it. But it kept talking until they shot it which caused it to sputter, "Ohhhhhh, they got me!"

My Three Stooges scenario involved a birthday cake decoration instead of a loud speaker. Some relatives visited us after they had attended a birthday party and brought us the cake top decoration because they thought our kids would like to see it.

It was a single-use musical candle decoration that opens up like a flower, ignites several little candles and plays Happy Birthday. Here's a picture of a similar one I found on the Internet:


Our visitors said it malfunctioned at the party; the flower opened up, lit up and spun, but it didn't play Happy Birthday. It sat on our counter for a day or two, although we had intended to throw it away once our kids were done admiring it.

Then late one night I was startled when the flower suddenly started playing Happy Birthday. We had no use for it, so I tossed it in the trash. The next morning I woke up before the rest of the family and went downstairs where I discovered the darn thing was still playing Happy Birthday from inside the trash can.

It was kind of creepy that this thing was still playing, so I figured it was my duty to stop it. My first thought was that water would short it out. So I tossed it in the kitchen sink and gave it a good soaking:


No luck. It kept playing. Next I tried to crush it by placing it into a plastic bag and stepping on it over and over. There was plenty of crunching, and the flowery parts of the decoration were destroyed. But it still kept playing:


I thought perhaps I should go back to the sink and do a better job trying to drown it. So this time I put it into a coffee mug and filled it with water:


It stopped playing the song briefly. But alas, it resumed when I poured the water out of the mug:


Okay, so soaking, crushing and drowning weren't enough. How about freezing? I filled the mug with water once again and left it in the freezer for a while. But the song still played even under a layer of ice:


Maybe icy water didn't do the trick, so what about hot water? I moved the mug from the freezer to our trusty Keurig coffee maker and filled it with scalding water:


Just like the loud speaker in the Three Stooges film, this little Happy Birthday speaker wouldn't die. I was ready to give up and let it play on forever. But then my wife came downstairs and put it out of its misery.

No, she didn't shoot it like Moe, Larry and Curly. She just pulled out the (now rusty) little batteries. So this was indeed the day the music (finally) died.


You're probably wondering why I didn't just take out the batteries in the first place. Well, that's fine if you like doing things the easy way!