The ties that bindSeptember 6, 2014
One of my major limitations as a human being, aside from being a picky eater, is that I’m not good with tools.
My dad’s dad taught my dad the basics of woodworking and such, and my dad would have gladly done the same for me, but I was never that interested. I thought of myself as a smart person, yet, out in the world of 3D objects, my mechanical intuition and ability seemed mediocre. I received a C+ in wood shop, my lowest grade ever; I failed my first driving test. Faced with such results, I defined myself more and more as a thinker rather than a doer. It’s an issue I still struggle with today. Even basic tasks like replacing a flat bike tube seem daunting.
Against this backdrop of psychological and mechanical dysfunction, I recently attempted to help my 7-year-old son build a Super Secret Police Dropship (Lego set #70815, featured in The LEGO Movie).
Phil followed the two-volume instruction booklet quite well and only needed me at a couple of points. My main task was fastening the end of a piece of string to one of the set’s 854 pieces.
Given the limited length of the string, my large fingers struggled to tie a double knot. I just couldn’t get the end of the string through the loop a second time. Finally, I held the string in place while Phil pulled the end through using needle-nose pliers.
I savored the moment while Phil completed the remaining 49 steps.