Irish Proverb: You never miss the water till the well has run dry.

All in the Name of …

Jeff came over this past Saturday and the two of us spent several hours looking at my arcade games — specifically, monitors in need of repair. Regardless of how much (or how little) we accomplished, you would not believe how much I enjoyed our time together.

Jeff has long been the Wozniak to my Jobs — that is, I dream up wacky projects and he somehow makes them happen. These projects go back many years. In fact, twenty years ago Jeff, Andy and I were already working on similar projects. Back then most of them revolved around finding different ways to lower the resale value of my cars.

One I remember in particular went like this: “I wonder how loud we could make a Ford Festiva?” So after coming up with the idea, the three of us would go to work. My contribution was always the simplest: funding. After spending a few months worth of paychecks on a rag-tag collection of mismatched speakers, Jeff and Andy would go to town doing their part. Andy did most of the woodworking while Jeff did all the wiring. That particular project ended one night in Jeff’s parents’ garage. We were all surprised to find out that the collection of speakers we had crammed into the Festiva were loud enough to not only launch a Coke can sitting on top of the car up into the air, but also spread the crack on my already-cracked windshield an inch or so with every bump from the woofers. The three of us sat there, mesmerized, watching that crack slowly spread across the Festiva’s windshield. BOOM (crack), BOOM (crack), BOOM (crack).

(I should note that Jeff does not hold a monopoly on helping me destroy vehicles; when I asked Andy to help me lower my Geo Tracker by simply removing the cars springs, he happily obliged.)

Then there was the time the three of us decided to build our own skateboard launch ramp. I’m sure I came up with the idea, Jeff scrounged up some wood, and Andy nailed the thing together in his driveway. Somewhere there’s a videotape of me hitting this seemingly small ramp and flying what seemed like ten feet in the air before landing in the yard. I had mistakenly assumed that landing in the grass wouldn’t hurt, but it did.

So here we are, twenty years later, operating under the same basic model. Andy is still building things out of wood, Jeff is still wiring things together and I am still serving as some sort of twisted ring master of this crazy circus of ours, continually coming up with bizarre ideas and putting the two of them to work in the name of fun.

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