Is this the most annoying thing to have to do on a regular basis? Our lives are filled with electronic gadgets that need batteries: flashlights, remote controls, garage door openers, watches, security systems, cars, smoke alarms, hearing aids, cameras. What is annoying about having a dead battery is pretty obvious: the car won’t start, the flashlight is dead, the garage won’t open. Murphy’s Law of Dead Batteries suggests that when a dead battery event occurs, you will not have a backup at your location. A corollary of that axiom suggests that the event will occur when it is totally inconvenient and will cause the most trouble. You will, for example, have a dead battery in your flashlight when you get a flat tire at midnight on a lonely country road on a night with a new moon–dead blackness. Your garage door opener will go dead on a very rainy day when you are wearing a new suit and new shoes. You may never know that your smoke alarm battery is dead. You will find out that the backup battery in your alarm clock is dead that day when the power fails and you oversleep for work. When the remote control fails because of a dead battery, you are trying to watch two things on two different channels at the same time. Since you don’t have replacements at home, you have to get in the car and go get some, but your car won’t start because the battery is dead. After you appeal to your neighbor to give you a ride, you find out that the store is fresh out of the batteries you need and won’t have any new ones until next Tuesday. You check your watch to find that the sweep second hand has stopped moving and is no longer ticking. They are out of those watch batteries as well. You ask when they might get those again, but the old guy helping you can’t hear because the battery in his hearing aid has just quit on him. So you do finally get a new battery for your car, but the fittings on the battery are metric and your tools are standard American. You put two new double AA’s in the remote only to find that the cable is experiencing a temporary outage, and you can see nothing but snow. You call your mother to complain, but the battery in your cell phone is dead, so you plug it in and charge it. Your car with the dead battery sits in the driveway, motionless, in front of the closed garage door. The smoke alarm chirps a weary warning that it’s battery is about to die as well. You rummage through a drawer filled with dead batteries, a cemetery of unfinished projects, hoping to find a good one you might have overlooked. Your flashlight sits on the counter, waiting for you to re-install its energy system, but you are out of D cells. You drop two old batteries into the flashlight, and a pale yellow light shines in your hand.