Monday, May 16, 2011

"I couldn't repair your brakes, so I made your horn louder"

Every day problems arise in our lives and we are forced to deal with one way or another, but it’s how we deal with them that sets us apart from our neighbors. When I was a kid, my parents often packed us up and we would all go over to a family friend’s house for an evening of dinner and games. We would play with their kids and our parents would laugh and have a few cocktails. Fun would be had by all. One visit in particular stood out to me though, and the events that transpired were so profound, I have remembered them vividly to this day.

It was late, we were all tired, and it had come to that time of the evening when the kids argued about going home and the parents told them to put their toys away “or else!” We were in one of the bedrooms we had destroyed and I was watching Kenny, a boy slightly younger than I was, as he tried to shove his big sister’s doll into a dresser drawer. He pushed and turned, twisted and pulled but no matter what he did the doll just wouldn’t fit. Now at this point you or I may have given up and found another place to hide the doll, perhaps under the bed or in the closet, but not Kenny. Nope Kenny was one, even at that age, that was a fan of “thinking outside the box.”

After a short examination of the problem, Kenny pulled the legs off the doll then shoved it neatly into the drawer, tucking the broken stubs in behind it. I can still visualize the beating that followed when his sister realized her favorite toy had been destroyed, but when I was watching Kenny work his magic, one word passed through my mind, “genius”.

Creative solutions to complex problem can make a seemingly impossible task possible. Kenny found a way to get that square peg through the round hole. Sure he had been bludgeoned with a Tonka dump truck for the effort, but real genius is rarely understood anyway. We should all take a page out of Kenny’s book once in a while and see if we can’t pull the legs off of that proverbial doll. We should look for ways to solve our problems instead of throwing our hands up in defeat and maybe, just maybe, true genius will hit us like a Tonka dump truck. Do you have any stories of unsung heroism? Times when someone wowed you with simplicity or creativity? Let me hear it! Oh and by the way Kenny did regain sight in that left eye and his limp is barely noticeable… kidding!


  1. Beautiful! Inspirational! Fun! I'm really loving your posts....

  2. I turned my cousin into a hero through intimidation.
    My sister, younger cousins and I were jumping off a 3 foot high veranda while holding hands. We had done this a hundred times. Then one time, my youngest cousin wasn't quite ready and was pulled off - resulting in a broken elbow.
    Knowing, as the eldest, I would be the one in trouble, I impressed on her that it wasn't that bad and it was NO ONE'S FAULT (especially mine).
    My cousin was calm, stoic and tearless through her whole ordeal and garnered the respect of every adult involved.
    I didn't get in trouble (it was an accident after all) but I gained a greater sense of responsibility as a result.

  3. One winter day, my brother (at that time 16) came home to a locked house and he didn't have a key. Since he wanted to change before he went to see his girl, he had to get in.
    When I came home (with a key, I'm that much older), he was lying in bed shaking like a jelly pie. Instead of smashing one of the cellar windows, he climbed up the side of the veranda (we had a wooden wind-breaker there), up the iced roof (no flat roof) and lowered himself through a tiny (1 foot square) attic window that stood open.
    Crazy genius.
    Mad nonetheless.
    I'm sure he learned something from this episode, although I'm not entirely sure what. I learned it's better to face my parent's anger over a broken window than risking my life.

  4. That's a great one Cat. You have a crazy brother. I have to admit I've done some crazy stuff to avoid a parents wrath though. If your in a reading mood check out "Its all fun and games until something catches on fire" here on this site. I think its a good example of the lengths we will go through to avoid being caught at something.