I may be a writer, but I consider myself more of a creative problem solver. Some say when life gives you lemons, make lemonade. This is great advice when life gives you something as delicious as lemons, but more often than not, life gives you a swift kick in the pants.
For example, two weeks ago, I was driving from Atlanta to Birmingham to fulfill my destiny of becoming the most infamous executive creative director to have ever lived. It began to rain as I was driving down interstate twenty. Hard. After an hour of pouring down rain, the clouds re-arranged, and formed into more of what one would refer to as a “monsoon”. Luckily for me, I drive a Jeep Wrangler. The rock-crawler’s compact build, and all-terrain driving capabilities allowed me to successfully maneuver through even the harshest of conditions…or so I thought.
So, I’m driving. It is raining leopards and wolves. My windshield wipers are moving faster than the speed of light, as they whisk away every last bead of water from my windshield. But the rain kept coming. It was coming down too fast, even for my windshield wipers operating at maximum speed. Soon after, I was wedged between two 18 wheelers, and the worst thing happened. I couldn’t believe my eyes, and they couldn’t see either. My impervious windshield wiper had gone rouge. A bolt had shot loose, and the wiper blade had jumped ship from my wiper arm. All of this happened, while riding down an unlit three lane highway, in between two big rigs.
I didn’t know what to do. I collected myself and tried not to panic, while I blindly drove down the highway. I looked out my passenger side window, and saw that the next exit was four miles away. I turned the right knob on the side of my steering wheel to switch my wipers off. The blade was hanging onto the arm by a thread, like Scar from The Lion King hanging off the side of a cliff, holding onto the Mufasa’s paw for dear life.
So what did I do? What could I do? I did exactly as any logical, practical man would do-I drove blind. It was all I could do, besides peering out of the driver’s side window of the Jeep for a minimal amount of sight. Finally, after the four miles that felt like 4,000, I pulled off at the exit. The exit was home of the legendary Talladega Superspeedway. As I pulled off the highway, slowing down, the Shell station in the distance gleamed like a lighthouse leading the way to the shore, after years at sea.
I finally arrived at the gas station, ran through the door, covering my head from the rain with my jacket. As I stepped into the gas station convenience store, I put my head on a swivel, looking everywhere. I was asking myself, “How am I going to jury-rig this wiper into working for the next seventy miles?”…“I need toothpicks” I thought to myself. I looked everywhere, but could not find them for sale. I went up to the counter, and found a jar filled with toothpicks , a paper clip, and a rubber band. I grabbed them and ran outside. I jammed three toothpicks into the empty bolt hole, and bent a paper clip around the remaining space of the hole. Then, I wrapped a rubber band around the toothpicks, twisting and wrapping the band, until the wiper blade was locked onto the arm. I drove around the parking lot to test the wiper out, and to my suprise, the windshield wiper was working good as new. I hopped back on that Alabama highway, and headed down to Birmingham, without a scratch.
The moral of this story, is I am basically a real-life MacGyver. I am great at thinking on my feet. Give me an obstacle, a brief, or a task, and I’ll improvise the hell out of it. If I can fix a problem so large, with so little, you can’t imagine what I could do with the proper time and tools. Once I was in the Northern New Mexico desert, where I met a wise old man who told me, “Scramble and be flexible.” That’s my mantra.