Some Things Are Best Left Undone

July 17, 2008

When I was growing up, I always felt the Silver Surfer was the perfect “tragic hero.” He was the only one of his kind in all of the universe, an amoral, aloof, super-being – enslaved, but longing to be free as he teeters on the tipping point between good and evil yadda, yadda, yadda…

Man, of all the Marvel comics heroes, the Silver Surfer was the one this comic book kid wanted to be when I grew up. I think I understand what it might feel like to be this guy.

uber geek confession: My Do-It-Yourself Silver Surfboard project

(Kids, don’t try this at home…or, anywhere on planet earth, for that matter.)
While other kids were out playing and developing their social skills, I was trying to design my own “Silver Surfer”-style flying surfboard.

Armed with T-square, graph paper, and colored pencils, I spent hours in my makeshift laboratory/workshop/hideout, “The Black Shack.” Batman and Superman had nothing on me when it came to the mysterious super-hero hideout. “The Black Shack” was my Bat Cave, my Fortress of Solitude…well, actually it was this rickety little shack, perched precariously on the arid, sand-blasted West Texas outback of our home on Maple Street. But hey, a kid can dream. Right?

I drew up plans and searched for classifieds with titles like “Build Your Own Hovercraft,” to augment my Vision. Such dubious ads were to be found in the classified ad section of magazines like Boy’s Life.

For those non-Scouts out there, Boys Life was a magazine for wholesome young men yearning to grow into stalwart Americans.  (Yeah I was a Boy Scout…wanna’ make something of it?)

It was a great source for a particular ad that hyped the purported lift-capable hovercraft engines and fans that I planned to install into my flying surf board. I figured out a pre-Wii-era inertial steering mechanism. The palm-mounted steering device was wired to the board. Wireless really wasn’t an option back in 1966 – as if was any part of this crazy scheme.

dead-men tell no tales

In the event of an unplanned seperation from my board, my palm-mounted steering device’s wire would disconnect and the board would hover in place; sort of a “dead man’s switch” arrangement. Yeah, yeah – it only took me a moment to realize that if I fell off my silver surfboard while threading between sky scrapers at 70 stories, that losing my board to some passing board thief would be the least of my worries. “Dead-man switch” indeed.

Thank God I didn’t follow up on that particular brainstorm. Some things are best left undone.

-dj

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One Response to “Some Things Are Best Left Undone”

  1. creativeclown said

    I’m just now reading this one. It’s great! I hope you’re going to continue writing this blog.

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