Sunday, 31 January 2016

Take It Apart

I am really no different than 99% of the people of the planet. I’d like to think that I am unique, but the reality is I am a pretty hum-drum kind of guy. I like things the way they are and I don’t seek out adventure. Thankfully, adventure doesn’t seek me out either.

When I was young, I was inquisitive, wondering just how the world worked and why it worked the way it did. I can see the same traits in Hurricane, Tornado and Tsunami when they are trying to grasp one concept or another. Maybe grandchildren are given to us so that we can once again learn how to wonder and wonder how.

I would take almost anything apart to see what was inside. I thought that there were little actors inside of my TV set with little cows and horses, tiny cars and little houses. I was too young to understand there wasn’t room enough inside that box to keep all of the props and livestock that would have been needed for even one of my favourite shows. My fear of my dad and sense of self preservation kept me from taking the TV apart. I was mesmerized the first time a TV Repairman came to the house with his suitcase full of tools and tubes. He unplugged the set and undid the screws that held the back of the set on. I stood hiding behind my mom’s legs, watching and waiting to see if all of my favourite characters might fall out.
 
It turned out that inside of a television set didn’t house props and people, but something just as interesting. There were tubes, wires and a huge picture tube in the centre of everything. At the time I had no idea what I was seeing, but I sure did want to reach in and touch the insides. I was told in no uncertain terms that it would be very, very, very dangerous. Did that bother Hansel or Gretel? Did it stop Joe Potts from sticking his tongue on that frozen post in the schoolyard? The word DANGER has a magnetic attraction for kids. I vowed that one day I would mess around in the back of a TV.
 Image result for cut open golf ball elastic
Until then, I had to be satisfied with taking toys apart and broken things that I found in the garbage. Too many of these things I was unable to take apart because dad just didn’t have the right tools for the job. My brother had a nice V shaped scar from trying to get the cover off of a golf ball. It was totally worth it though, golf balls are cool inside. Well they were back in the day, today they are filled with a plastic compound of some sort which is pretty boring but they do carve well. I did eventually get inside of a TV that I found in an unofficial dump someplace. The back came off pretty easy and those tiny vacuum tubes inside weren’t as interesting as I thought. The kids I was with out-voted me and instead of taking it apart, we tossed rocks at it until the picture tube imploded. That was pretty cool, but there wasn’t much left to discover.

I still like taking things apart and it is pretty rare that I will be able to get it back together again. I have a radio downstairs and the volume control is loose and needed to be tightened. I popped off the dials and undid the screws holding the outer casing together. I needed to lift out the circuit board, three more screws and a fourth that turned out to hold an important pivot needed to tune the radio. First, fix what I just broke…done!
 Image result for old portable radio

The volume control had nothing that could be adjusted to fix it, but that didn’t stop me. Now, I have a radio that can’t turn off, but I can turn the volume down so low that I can’t hear it. I wonder if it is dangerous to leave it on all of the time. You know, I think I saw a radio in the second hand store that probably works and it will be months before I feel the need to take it apart.

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