Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Me and Rube Goldberg

A couple of days ago, in a fit of goofiness, I purchased, on the cheap, a Rube Goldberg machine. It is quite the machine, and has taken me the majority of two days to assemble. If you don't know what a Rube Goldberg machine is, there are many very informative websites that can explain it much better than I can. Mostly, these website use drawings, and I can not draw for shit. Never have been able to draw, never will be able to draw. Therefore, the explanation will have to be fully provided by someone else. I will just give you the highlights, this machine is designed to perform a simple task (it doesn't matter what that task is) in the most elaborate, complex way possible. Using as many convoluted steps that are barely connected, as possible.

In many ways, my life is a Rube Goldberg machine writ large. I like the complex, and sometimes I get a little carried away, and ahead of myself when I am having, what to me, is a brilliant idea. Therefore, I figured I needed to purchase a Goldberg machine in order to see if perhaps it would somehow make the arc of my life easier to ascertain.  It is an unwieldy bastard, and that is a trait we have in common, which I figured is a good sign. However, being unwieldy and complex might be a lot of fun from the outside, but from the inside it is a right pain in the ass, this I was, much to my dismay, to discover when I tried to assemble my wonderful new toy.

I am not the most practical of mechanical men, I understand the theory behind 'righty tighty, lefty loosey' but that is as far as I usually get. The theory is sound, my application of the theory generally dissolves into me trying to figure out what is left to the screw, as opposed as left to me, and then begins to take in the rotation of the Earth upon is axis. Which generally leads to a LOT of swearing, and me throwing the offending tool/item into/unto something or just away.  Why I thought that I would every possess the ability to put together a Rube Goldberg machine boggles the imagination. But, here I was trying my very best, which is to say failing miserably.

I thought I had it all sorted out, I even had the drawing to compare it too, and the finished product, and my assembly looked identical. Looked identical, but there was (and still is as I type this) some fundamental, hard to see, difference. Which lead to me doing two things, one,almost killing my fool self when I turned it on for the first time, and two almost burning down my entire apartment complex.  After a few moments of sheer terror at my near death experience, and a few more moments of swearing, I decided (why I don't know) to attempt to 'fix' the problem. Not, in hindsight, a particularly good idea.

I, it would appear, am not overly adept at fixing certain things. Rube Goldberg machines are one of those things that I cannot, for the life of me, seem to fix. I understand the theory, I am able to see the pattern, 'do the math' and have a solid grounding of what is supposed to happen. The theory behind the machine is not a great mystery, but I seem to possess a remarkable ability to put together things with an important part missing. It almost works, I can tell it wants to work, it is struggling to work like a fat man struggles to breath after eating too many 'fat man pancakes', but it just cannot get every part of itself going in the same direction at the same time. And that is pretty fucking critical to the working of anything, especially a Rube Goldberg machine.

I have spent quite some time, thought (and I like to believe I am a fairly solid thinker), and energy trying to fix this infernal machine. This device that I thought that, while being so very, very complex was going to make my life 'complete' as it were, has turned into an absolute stone the crows disaster. This was not mentioned in the manual at all, but the true tragic part of this tale is that Rube Goldberg machines are a 'buyer beware' kind of deal. They do not come with a money back guarantee, and they are very difficult to find replacement parts for, you know in case you, in a fit of blind rage, took a hammer to one of its core components.

Of course, after that blind rage wears off, and you look around at your newly wrecked Rube Goldberg machine, is when you start to feel remorse, and quite sad.  It was an once in a lifetime type of machine, and your dumb, arrogant, childish, fearful, ass took a hammer to its core, and shattered it into pieces that all the King's horses, and all the King's men cannot seem to put together again. Je suis desole.