Thursday, July 24, 2008

The Butler Device

I had a child in class this past year who was obviously misplaced--he belonged at least in College Prep, maybe even Honors, but here he was, in the PCP class.

It takes more than a mite of courage to say anything original in a freshman class. Oh, it does take a bit of chutzpah to tell the teacher to "fuck off," and the dramatic "this class sucks and why do we have to take science" blow-ups require Dale Carnegie tactics (who suggested speakers pick a topic that make them angry, but adolescents already know how to draw from their amygdala). Still, toying with an idea, especially an original idea, in front of one's peers, peers who have already been labeled stupid and worse, requires brass gonads.

And Andy had brass gonads.

So here's the device. And if you credit it, credit Andy's uncle from Cal State, a fictitious character whose existence protects Andy's cool factor. (If you want Andy's real name, write me, and I'll ask him if it's OK to credit him.)

Take a plastic bottle, and drill a small hole in the bottom. Blow up a balloon within the bottle (the hole allows you to do this--if you don't believe me, try blowing up the balloon without the hole), then tie off the balloon. Drill another hole into the bottle cap, large enough to fit a tire valve snugly into it.

Now you can play--using a bicycle pump, and covering up the tiny hole in the bottom with a finger, you can make the balloon shrink. Open the tiny hole, the balloon inflates.

Great stuff!

No comments: