Thursday, November 18, 2004

The Wounded Trooper

I relate this true story. None of the names are changed, but the events are heavily editorialized.

A couple of days ago one of David's friends fell on top of David's prized 16 inch robot. Me - being the ever confident fixer of everything broke - made the cursory inspection. The visible damage was a dangling arm (hanging by the wires that supplied power to the laser blaster clutched in the robot's now useless hand). Well that didn't look to hard, so David and I launched into the repair this afternoon.

The plastic collar around the arm had been snapped - So we had to glue it. Super glue seemed to be the only variety that could be found in any of the kitchen's various junk drawers. But, despite its name, the only thing super about this glue was that it didn't hold super well. Eventually, this poor trooper will need some old fashioned model glue.

After we completed our delicate shoulder surgery, David powered it up and we soon discovered that our trooper had suffered heinous injuries that now prevented him from "walking". I contemplated this new sad state of affairs as the trooper's torso spun round and round over his bottom half. All the MASH Doctors would've been proud that I rushed him immediately into the operating room and - as happens more often than not - this now crippled and dying toy became my toy and would claim the next 2 hours in a valiant attempt to resuscitate him.

After removing his lower extremities from his torso, David's poor trooper looked more like the android from Aliens after doing battle with the mother Alien. Sans legs, I switched on his power and saw first-hand the chewed up gears and bent shafts that had thus far enabled this valiant trooper to fight all of David's imaginary battles. Removal of his gearbox left me somewhat queasy and I wondered whether Dr. Frankenstien had felt this way.

The gearbox came apart easily - too easily, I feared. Now came the task of straightening out the bent and twisted shafts (soft metal) and realigning the gear meshings so that this gentle giant warrior would not walk with a limp. As the gearbox came back together - to my genuine glee, I began to have visions that I might actually have accomplished that which no dad in history had ever accomplished - Successfully raising a trash-bound toy and restoring it to perfect operating health (without the leftover parts!)

But then - horror of horrors! the one simple worm gear no larger than a pencil eraser had a split in it. The split destroyed the possibility of this courageous trooper from ever walking again-as the worm gear could not hold onto the shaft without spinning. My hopes were completely dashed. I saw no way out - David's comrade would either need a wheelchair, or a rocking chair.

My gentle daughter, seeing my utter hopelessness, placed her hand on my shoulder to comfort me, "Why don't you try some JB Weld, Daddy?"

Instantly, new hope coursed through my body and I began to feel the warmth of new life and confidence that would allow me, a mere mortal, to give this trooper another chance to be all he could be. A true "Army of One"!

Today, the brave and battle scarred trooper walks - albeit with a limp. But he walks! Thanks to the young girl's insight into the vagaries of broken robots.


At 4:32 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bravo! This article also proves that you are definitely not a redneck, Jim - nowhere did you mention "duct tape". :-)

- Nat

At 7:41 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

No parts left over?!! I am thoroughly impressed; just as a little sister would be!! :)

At 1:38 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

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