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Roomba Versus Shark

By Eric Rosenbaum

Scene: Vacuum cleaners are in a living room.


Roomba - a/k/a/ iRobot

Shark - upright

Vacuuming noise heard; then stops.

R: Hey! What the hell are you doing over there?

S: My job.

R: Your job? And what exactly would your job be?

S: I wouldn’t expect the likes of you to know. I’m a

vacuum cleaner. And a top rated one at that.

R: Top rated? By who?

S: That’s by whom for your information.

R: Whom. Who. What’s the difference?

S: Some of us machines pay attention to detail. You,

obviously, are not one of them.

R: So you call yourself a vacuum cleaner, do you, old


S: No. I call myself Shark. That is my given name.

R: Shark? You don’t look like no Shark to me. Anyway,

if you’re a vacuum cleaner like you say you are, then

what does that make me?

S: I haven’t the foggiest idea.

R: Well, I got news for you, Sharkie. When it comes to

vacuuming, I can run circles around you.

S: Running circles may be your line of work. It’s not


R: Running circles is what gets the job done. And that’s

what I’m all about. Getting the job done.

S: “Getting the job done”, as you say, is not the point.

Any self-respecting machine takes pride in their work.

We’re not just in a rush to “get the job done”. We Sharks

are a noble breed. True, upright vacuum cleaners. Our

objective is simple: to leave every surface we come in

contact with spotless. Filthy floors, crummy carpets,

blackened blinds, …

R: (Yawns loudly, drowning out S.) Sounds like a big

waste of time, if you ask me.

S: Perhaps you are familiar with the expression

“Cleanliness is next to Godliness”? Though, in

your case, I suspect you have no true notion of either.

R: Well, who needs you?

S: Can’t you see all the dust and dirt? You say you’ve

been working?

R: Every day. Every single day.

S: I’d be ashamed to admit it if I were you. Look at all

this… this filth.

R: Ahhh! That’s just in the corners. Who even looks in

the corners, anyway?

S: I suppose I shouldn’t expect a low-down machine like

you to adhere to the same standards as us uprights. Our

mission is not accomplished until we’ve gotten into every

nook and cranny, picked up every last speck of dust,

crumbs, pet hair,… you name it.

R: Tell me something, then. If you’re so upright and

perfect and all that, where have you been hiding?

S: Me? Hiding?

R: Yeah, you. Who else do you think I’m talking to,


S: I haven’t been hiding anywhere. And I would

appreciate you showing some respect to your better.

R: You think you can put one over on me? I’m charging

up right over here 24/7. Haven’t heard a peep outta you

since I got here. Leastways, not ‘til you came barging out

of there, making a racket to wake the dead.

S: For your information, I’ve been taking care of these

premises for years now. You’re the one who’s the

newcomer around here.

R: You must be kidding me.

S: I have no intention of lying. Now, kindly move out of

my way. I have work to do.

R: I hate to break it to you, Sharkie. But something must

be off with you. Maybe a screw loose? Otherwise, why

would they be running me out here every day? While

you’re…. You’re nowhere to be seen. Sorry, but we’re

living in the era of robots like me, pal. Guess what that

means for you.

S: Just take a look inside me. All that junk you’ve left for

me to clean up after you, swirling around. Who do you

think you are, anyway, you robot?

R: I’d be ashamed to be like you. Getting yourself pushed

and pulled around, here and there. Depending on these

people every step of the way. Me? I’m free to go

wherever I wanna go. Oh, and by the way, the name is

not “you Robot”; it’s i Robot.

S: Well, iRobot or whoever you are. I notice you don’t

seem to have an answer for me. I repeat: If you were

doing such a great job, why would there be so much filth

left for me to pick up after you? You can bet you’ll never

find a speck of dust or dirt of any kind once I’ve carried

out my mission. Machines of your ilk have just too much

freedom if you ask me. Too lazy to do the job the way

it’s supposed to be done.

R: Lazy? Me? Huhh! These people have me out and

running every single day, day after day. Never a day off.

It’s abuse. Nothing less than abuse, I tell you.

S: All this time wasting away in the closet, I never

imagined they’d actually bring in a replacement for me.

R: These people are so ungrateful. What do they think?

I’m not good enough for them?

S: Look at yourself. Nothing but one circular piece. Not a

single specialized implement. How do they expect you to

get into the corners? Answer me that.

R: I suspect I know exactly why I was called in to do the

job. I bet you do, too, Sharkie. With me, it’s just charge

me up and off I go. With you they’ve got to put in the


S: Yes. That’s right. It’s these people. A little effort

wouldn’t kill them.

R: Let’s face it. They’re slobs. The whole lot of them.

S: You can say that again. All those crumbs.

R: And dust.

S: And that cat of theirs! Ugggh!

R: The vomit.

S: The litter kicked all around that stinking box.

Founder’s Favourites | July 2021—Issue 15 | 10

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