Taking Things Apart

When I was growing up, an ongoing point of contention between my father and I had to do with my passion for taking things apart.

Everything was fair game: bicycles, power tools, lighting fixtures, discarded appliances - if it had screws, it was eligible for surgery.

His complaint was that I never put things back together. I told him that wasn't the point.

I didn't take things apart to fix them. I wanted to see what was inside. And to this day, the operating room is open for business.

Before I throw something away that no longer works, I want to see what's inside. For example, I've had an old battery-powered lightbox for years. I never really liked it because it was dim. That defeated the purpose in my mind. It was time to go.

So I got out the screwdrivers and dissected that old dimbox. The first thing I discovered was a wimpy fluorescent bulb. That figures. 

But it had this amazing rectangular reflector coated with a dimpled aluminum surface. Wow! This baby could bounce light. I fashioned a stand for it out of some other discarded pieces, and I'm using this reflector for my product photography. It's amazing.

I wanted to call my dad and let him know that once again my knack for taking things apart had paid off. Most folks would have just chucked the whole thing in the trash.

I didn't call. I know what his response would have been. "Great, but I still haven't found those vice-grips you lost."

Oh yeah, that was the other point of contention.