Mark LaFlamme: Kilimanjaro rises like Olympus and all that noise

Feb. 5—At the Walmart in Oxford, they have a fancy robot cleaner that rolls through the store by itself swabbing the floors. I encountered if for the first time over the weekend and boy, did I want to jump on and ride that thing like a bronco. I mean, I really had to apply some serious adult reason in order to resist doing it and let's face it. We all know adult reason is not something I've got in abundance. So, instead of riding on Bubbles and seeing if I could get it to wheelie, I simply followed it around the store asking it stupid questions. "Excuse me, could you tell me where I might find medicine for fur balls? I got 'em bad, Bubbles." Or, "I say, do you folks have Prince Albert in a can?" I hounded that transhuman creature so vigorously, it finally tilted like a pinball machine and a real live employee had to come over and jump start it. So, there. I helped at least one human keep his job that day.

Well, will you look at that? Walmart's notorious car mangling pole has been topped with a bright red stop sign to which is affixed a series of festive blinking lights. It looks spiffy. Keen, even. I strongly suspect that the pole will continue to devour cars, trucks and minivans, but at least it will look pretty while doing so. For those untold victims of this carnage, it'll be like getting killed and eaten by a beautiful tigress on the Serengeti.

Dang it, ever since I wrote "Serengeti" in the item above, I've had that obnoxious Toto song clanging around in my head. It's going to be a long day, yo.

I can't stop thinking about Bubbles, the Walmart robo worker. I think the next time I'm over there, I'm going to try to wrestle that sucker down and put some pajama pants on it. Trust me, it will be funny. I've just got to find a way to lure the creature over to the lingerie department. What do robots like to eat, anyway?

Say, I wonder what would happen if we were to let Bubbles out into the Walmart parking lot to do battle with the pole. Why, it would be like Godzilla vs. Megalon all up in there. Bubbles may have some mad moves (and some fancy pajamas) but Sir Pole has established himself as one of the Earth's most immovable objects, and he won't go down easy. In fact, the way that pole seems to alter the force of gravity around it, it's surprising it hasn't sucked Bubbles right out of the lingerie department and into the lot already.