Today I’m going to share a story. I don’t know if I have any deep lessons or morals to draw from it – it’s just a 100% true story that’s incredibly illustrative of the man my father is, and is worth sharing.
My father has always been an excellent “junkyard engineer.” His garage is always full of odds and ends, bits and pieces, and a wide variety of tools he uses to combine these things into small inventions. Here’s an example: when my father’s eyesight started to go bad and he found it difficult to read books at the normal print size, he found a camera and wired it to a large monitor, then mounted that camera over a sliding keyboard shelf (the kind that are sometimes attached to desks) which had clamps on either side. Now he had a place he would put a book and slowly slide it past the camera, magnifying the page and projecting it onto the much larger monitor for him to read.
To my father, there is no problem that can’t be solved by the right combination of scrap.
Which brings us to the other day. He sent me a picture of himself, wearing a pair of 3-D glasses (the old paper kind that would come in activity books), from which he had removed the lenses and to which he had attached a playing card on the left-hand arm. He was smirking in the picture and asked me to guess why he had done this.
I was unable to (of course), and so he informed me: When he watches TV, there’s a lamp beside him in his study that was casting an unpleasant glare against his eye. So he carefully attached a playing card to these glasses frames in such a way that when he was seated in the position from which he watches TV, the playing card exactly blocks out the light from that lamp.
If you’re laughing hysterically at the absurdity of this, just know that so was I – and the story isn’t done.
I asked him what I felt was the obvious question: why didn’t he just turn the lamp off when he watched TV?
He replied: “the switch is broken.”