Go on. Build the badly made, unsafe thing.


I just love a good contraption. I heard the word early this morning. It happens to be Webster’s Word of the Day. I often wonder, with so many choices, how Webster picks the winners for the Word of the Day. I may have to write a letter of inquiry.

Anyway, upon hearing it, I smiled. Contraption.

It brings about all sorts of images and thoughts. Tenfold, at least. I plan on talking about them too, right here.

By Noah’s good definition, it is a noun, as it should be. It is described as a machine or device that appears strange. Or perhaps, “unnecessarily complicated.” It goes on to say that contraptions are often badly made or unsafe.

Of course, the biggest boss of the Contraption is none other than Wile E. Coyote. Here’s a thing I’ve often wondered about Wile E. He is always alone. He doesn’t run around in a pack of coyotes. As they normally do. I’ve often questioned why. This morning it became apparently clear. He’s been shunned. Yes. Ousted from the pack. All due to his obsession with the Almighty Contraption.

I’m sure the first time that Wile E. blew up the rest of the pack with a rocket from ACME, they said, “Not good, Wile E. Chill, Wile E.” But the second time he dropped an anvil on someone’s head, they took a vote and banned him.

Anyway, Wile E. always was building a contraption. He could never quite just “buy” a thing from ACME and use it as suggested by the manufacturer. Nope. He always had to jerry-rig it. And sure enough, in his unorthodox productions, he would come close to destroying himself. With his contraptions.

And since we are speaking of jerry-rigging. I think this term was provoked by my brother. I have two. One is named Jerry. It is him of whom I speak. Jerry is nine years older than I. So from my very earliest memories, I have know him to be associated with engines. First he started small. With go-carts and motor bikes. He would find some scrap parts, god-only-knows-where, and drag them back to our driveway. There, he would construct — you guessed it — contraptions.

Most of the time they operated. He would then encourage his younger sisters to embark and explore. Test pilots, if you will. My one sister ran the go-cart into the steel post in our backyard every time. In fact, she either hit that post, or one of the two trees out front by the curb. Either she could not steer at all, or the contraption was, as they say, “badly made or unsafe.”

He moved from small engines to automotive. This somehow seems worse to me. Once again, he would drag shells of vehicles into our backyard. And my parents would let him. He would then proceed to work all hours of the night, elbow-deep in grease and sprockets. One time, he got one of the “shells” running. It didn’t have seats. He bolted one of the kitchen chairs in the vicinity of the steering wheel. Contraption. I think he was 14.

I might be accused of being sexist here, but this is my belief. In general, I think men are more apt to “design by contraption” than women. Women design by necessity. Men conjure up the inane. For instance, those funny tail fins on the trunks of cars. They really serve no purpose what-so-ever. Or three conjoined satellite dishes on a rooftop, when one will certainly suffice. These are the things that women don’t do.

Despite all of this, I have a fondness in my heart for any contraption. I think it shows, on some level, an attempt at innovation.

Then, there is the guy in Dr. Suess’s “The Sneeches.” He came to town with his big “star-on-the-belly” contraption, with all the pipes and knobs and hoses going this way and that. In the end, his contraption went crazy, and no one could tell who had original star-bellies, or bare-bellies. And they all became good friends in spite of it all.

Sometimes the Roadrunner hugs Wile E. Coyote.

I love my brother.

Yep. I just love a good contraption.


“A friend is someone who knows all about you and still loves you.”
― Elbert Hubbard


“Love is that condition in which the happiness of another person is essential to your own.”
― Robert A. Heinlein, Stranger in a Strange Land


“And, in the end
The love you take
is equal to the love you make.”
― Paul McCartney, The Beatles Illustrated Lyrics