Sunday, March 20, 2016

Tab A Into Slot B

My son wants to buy a new car. Okay, he doesn't want to purchase anything made in the last ten years. He wants a car that will be new to him. He doesn't want to drive it, either. He wants to take it apart.
This shouldn't come as any kind of surprise to those who know this kid. He has been taking things apart for most of his life. Putting things back together has always been a little bit trickier. This was never more apparent than in his Lego ethos. The package was opened. The manual was laid out and followed meticulously. Step by step. Then, after a period of time best described by the attention span of a Star Wars fan or Bionicle aficionado, those newly minted creations would sit on a shelf. They would sit on that shelf until such time as they could become a set of parts that would eventually be part of some larger construction. Something from the imagination, not from the manual. Today our house sits on top of a foundation that might be created from all the bricks, sprockets and axles that were once part of that shelf display. They are relics. Little pieces of relics.
That's the car that he wants to buy. A piece of a relic. He doesn't want to buy something to display. He wants the pieces. He wants to take the engine out of a car that has seen better days, maybe it was once on a shelf, and put it into the car he is driving. I do not doubt that, given enough time, tools and access to a series of YouTube videos, that he and some clever friends could make this Frankenswitch happen. I learned a while back not to doubt his wrench abilities when he replaced the brakes on his Supra. He was successful enough on the back end to want to try the front end. Throw an engine lift and a covered garage into this mix and I can't imagine how this couldn't work out well.
Except for the pile of discarded car parts that already litter the inside of our garage. There is a front end, mostly fiberglass, and a set of wheels and tires that would now make it difficult for anyone to pull a car into that space to work on that engine problem. Did I mention the collection of hubcaps that continue to adorn the fence outside that garage, brought there over the span of years before there was a real car on which to mount them by my son?
That idea of interchangeable parts comes very naturally to a young man who swaps out video cards and motherboards with reckless abandon. It makes sense to him that everything is plug and play, even if the plugs are a little different shape or it takes some extra torque to get them to play. I respect that, and I admire it. It also scares me to death.
I guess I'll get to learn something new, too.

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