Last fall my oldest son, Grant, would jump out of the car after school and disappear into a workshop in the basement that he and his dad aptly named Engineering. He locked himself away in the cave-like room for over an hour each day before emerging to rustle up his afternoon snack.
After a week or so of this pattern, I finally asked him what he was doing in that tiny room for an hour. He reached into his backpack, pulled out two music tuners and declared, “The kids in band keep breaking their tuners so I fix them and take them back the next day.”
I stared. Then blinked.
“How do you fix them?”
“I solder the broken wires then put them back together.”
He gave me the duh look.
“Are you getting paid for this?”
I gave birth to the Tech Dude. You know the one in teen television dramas that helps the popular savant save the world? Or the guy on the crime dramas that finds the terrorists with a cell signal minutes before they blow up a building?
So months later, when he disappeared into Engineering with a UPS package, I ignored his shouts of joy. He said something about a robot, but I had laundry to fold.
Five hours later, I was slightly concerned. There is no bathroom in the basement, and Grant had never come out. Just as I was about to send in the rescue party, he walked up the stairs holding a yellow, robotic arm.
His hair stood straight up from his head, and his eyes held a certain wild quality. With the care of a new father, he set his creation on the kitchen table and took two steps back to admire his masterpiece.
I had to ask. “What does it do?”
Grant looked over at me like he just realized I was in the room and said, “It grabs things.”
I pursed my lips and obeyed when he called me over to place one finger six inches from the mechanical pinchers. He started pushing buttons and levers on a remote control.
One Mississippi, two Mississippi, three Mississippi, four Mississippi, five Mississippi…
Finally, on the sixth Mississippi, my finger found itself trapped in the plastic fingers of Roboarm.
“Isn’t that awesome?” His face beamed.
“So if you have a few days, it could be a rockin’ pick-up sticks partner?”
He ignored me.
“Congratulations babe, you just created the worlds slowest automated nose-picker.”
Again, like I was surrounded by the cone of silence.
“Great job sweetie.”
He smiled. “Do you want the robot to help you make dinner?”
“Only if you can wait two weeks to eat…”
|You can build your very own robotic arm from a kit of only five hundred pieces!|