A Special Talent

Have you ever heard of MacGyver? For those of you not in the loop, MacGyver was a TV program about the titular character secret agent Angus MacGyver. No matter what the problem, MacGyver was able to create the very doohickey needed to do something like  fix a jet engine so that the good guys can escape Just. In. The. Nick. Of. Time! The show was immensely popular, and it became a thing to say “MacGyvering” when you fixed something on the fly.  The Oxford Dictionary classifies MacGyver as  “…a verb (with object) e.g., Make or repair (an object) in an improvised or inventive way, making use of whatever items are at hand, i.e., ‘he MacGyvered a makeshift jack with a log’, or ‘he has a shock of short red hair and a pair of rectangular-framed glasses MacGyvered with duct tape.’ ”  Wictionary explains how to conjugate MacGyver: Third-person singular simple present MacGyvers; present participle MacGyvering; simple past and past participle MacGyvered.
Now you know more than you ever hoped to know about MacGyver, and as usual I have a reason for telling you. There’s something about different about Ben, that I didn’t notice in the first years of our life together.  It’s turned out that I married a MacGyver.
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The bike light mount Ben built

I knew he had lots of tools and even his own drill press but I just figured that was all car guy related. How wrong I was. All I had to do was complain about something. “The strap for my new bike light is supposed to fit on the seat post. It won’t  fit on the rack so I’ll have to take it back.” He picked it up. “Let me think a while,” he said. Three hours later a bracket that exactly fit the strap appeared on my bike.  He retrofitted a side mirror into the handlebar of my bike. It took a couple power tools and some cussing but he made it work. When I got a

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Voila!

kayak he built a car top carrier. I am short and my boat is big, so Ben made tested and improved on a number of devices to make it easier to load my boat, including a roller contraption made of PVC pipe that fit on the bike rack. The list of things big and small he has fixed or made for me over the years is endless.

I’ve never known anyone who goes to the hardware store as often as Ben. He’s on a first name basis with Roush Hardware and Lowe’s near our home. He can tell you where every hardware store is located in every town we’ve been to since we started traveling in the RV. It’s a rare day when he doesn’t say “I’m going to the hardware store.” One trip usually morphs into two or three in the same day. To make his vision become real, he has to fish through the various screws, bolts, connectors and other metal doo-dads to find things he can adapt to his purpose. Occasionally I will accompany him, and it’s cute to see the cashiers wave at him when we stroll through the

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My MacGyver at work.

door. Since we have been in Eastpoint for two months he’s become a regular. The cashier greeted him when we walked in with “Hi there, back again, sweetie?” on the most recent visit to the hardware store in Eastpoint. Two weeks ago I grumbled “my cockpit cover fills up with water like a birdbath when it rains.” A couple hours later he made a support out of PVC pipe with just enough angle bungeed to the rim of the cockpit to prop the cover. Bam! Now rain runs off the surface.

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Problem solved!

If I compliment his work Ben will say he has no creativity nor any aptitude for doing things. It couldn’t be further from the truth. He is a Maker, the kind that sees a finished product in his mind’s eye and works back from his vision to construct it.  When he starts scouting for stray pieces of cardboard I know he’s got an idea and is working on a template. He measures, cuts, tapes, glues and fusses. The rattle of a spray can tells me he’s putting the final touches on something he is ready to show. Yes, he paints his templates so that they look as close to the finished project as possible. He has a collection of other Maker friends who possess the one or two skills he lacks, and will go to them with his template and measurements to have something formed or welded. He will appear with an armload of disparate pieces and parts, and disappears into a corner of the garage or basement for a few hours. He might take a break to go to the hardware store–he goes there a lot, did I tell you that? Then he appears with the perfect solution to whatever problem he chose to solve. He makes things for me, his family and friends. You know Ben cares for you if he MacGyvers something for you.

Since he’s not facing “certain nuclear destruction” as does the TV MacGyver, there is no time crunch and there is no plutonium involved. There is, though, a great deal of care and love in each collection of nuts, bolts, screws, PVC, wood or metal. I mention whatever I need and a solution appears. I’m spoiled.

One thought on “A Special Talent

  1. C.J. Myers

    I had another friend many years ago who was so talented , as is Ben, EVERYONE called him “gadget man”…..those were Wyandotte Apts days !!! I got lost In your writing, Pam…….a BOOK should be inevitable . ????

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