The Three Laws of Robotics According to Isaac Asimov, Plus Twenty-Four According to Me

(Originally appeared on Sweet Fancy Moses, November 1 2000)

1. A robot may not injure a human being.

2. A robot must obey the orders given it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.

3. A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law.

4. A robot may not grow pubic hair.

5. A robot must never, under any circumstances, scat fresh lyrics to “Too-Ra-Loo-Ra-Loo-Ra.”

6. A robot must never look at me as I balance my assorted chakras in any one of my numerous homemade bean-bag chairs.

7. A robot must not maim, nor kill, me in an uncomfortable fashion after I patiently declare: “Are you not familiar with Law #6? Eyes elsewhere, thank you.”

8. A robot must apologize for even thinking of maiming or killing me. A robot must then lift me onto its hard, stainless steel back, and walk me over to the nearest I.H.O.P. for pancakes and coffee and, perhaps, just maybe, please dear Lord, a satisfying conversation about life, love and loneliness.

9. A robot must always cook me delicious, low-fat meals (high in taste, low in calories), but only if said robot does not use milk or a milk product. (Important! I am lactose intolerant.)

10. A robot, by law, must never be allowed to obtain a bartending degree through the mail.

11. If a robot does happen to obtain a bartending degree through the mail, this robot shall be turned off, covered in a burlap bag, driven to a farm on the outskirts of town, and then thrown out of the rear-window of a speeding automobile or van.

12. If this robot does, for whatever reason, happen to find its way back to its home, said robot must be beaten severely with a large stick and a large broom and then tossed into the rear of a delivery truck, where it will then be driven to a farm on the opposite outskirts of town.

13. If this robot still returns, pour maple syrup into its gear shaft. “Sorry,” you will say. “You are powerful and I respect that, but really, you must now die.”

14. A robot must mock any urologist or gynecologist who wears a Snoopy tie to put their patients at ease.

15. A robot must never trust a waiter who kneels when reciting the daily specials.

16. A robot must not make self-deprecating jokes in a fake foreign accent regarding its inability to bend over and touch its metallic toes.

17. When passing a homeless person with a “Tell Me Off For $1″ sign, a robot must always refrain from mentioning the obvious.

18. A robot must never go west to make it as a Hollywood star.

19. If said robot does attempt to go west to make it as a Hollywood star, this robot must be bound in rope, tied to the top of a limousine, and then driven to the set of a WB sitcom, where it must then–whether it wants to or not–audition for the role of “Put-Upon Robot.”

20. Sample dialogue:

Malcolm: “Pass the mustard, please.”

Robot: “Sure, let me just adjust my pants first. This belt, it’s a little loose.”


Eddie: “Typical robot! Always tightenin’ their belts!”

(Tremendous laughter. Applause.)

21. A robot must always wash its hands after cleaning my ankle-length booties and before fixing me a tomato and cucumber sandwich, my absolute favorite.

22. A robot must never bowl to the accompaniment of disco music or wear flip-flops on public transportation.

23. A robot must never flash gang-signs while posing for wedding photos or give “shout outs” to fellow robots.

24. A robot must never “pimp out” a work cubicle nor bowl to the accompaniment of disco.

25. A robot should never be allowed to purchase gag condoms in bulk, refer to his testicles as “Chang and Eng,” or attend jam-band festivals, from beginning to end.

26. A robot can never name pets after Middle Earth creatures or perform a beer-bong alone.

27. A robot must never answer a question with: “According to an article that I read recently in Cat Fancy magazine . . . ”

28. A robot should never be allowed to clip Ziggy cartoons for motivation or masturbate to scenarios involving itself and the characters from “Who’s the Boss?” Also:

29. A robot must never be permitted to quip “me so hungry” at business lunches, display a vanity plate on its car to attract more PZZY, or “air drum” to Led Zeppelin songs.

30. Finally: A robot must love me with all its heart, with all of its soul, even if I am sometimes difficult to live with, even if I do sometimes leave the food out on the counter, even if I do sometimes hurt its feelings with pointed sarcastic barbs, you know I love you, robot, don’t you? Here’s a batch of flowers that I picked up this morning. Aren’t they gay? No? I could always return it for something else, yes? Like an angel Hummel? Or a clock in the shape of a hot dog? Just let me know, as the Dollar Mart closes in a few. Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful robot!