Sunday, February 22, 2009

Mission: Make Nephew A Bike Mechanic

This is, at its core, a self-serving mission, as I just want someone in the family who can get me parts at cost in my old age. I don't miss the wages of bike shop work, but man, how I do miss thumbing through that Quality Bicycle Parts catalog (the "behind the counter" copy with wholesale pricing in it) to see just how much I could buy if I had actual wages.

(Secretly, I hope that by the time young Wilson can take up the wrench, our dependence on the car will have finally imploded, the bicycle will be seen as a viable -- nay, vital -- mode of transportation, and a good bike mechanic will be respected and paid like a surgeon... or at least a plumber. Uh huh. Right.)

But Grandma Nancy tells me stories of the little dude that make me think he has the soul of a mechanic, even before he's cracked the ripe old age of two. For example:

  • His favorite sentence is, "What's that?" A thirst for new information? Check!
  • Much to Grandma Nancy's chagrin (because she saw these often-maddening tendencies some 30-plus years ago in yours truly), he likes to take things apart and (usually) put them back together. Heck, I watched him learn how to deal with Legos in nothing flat. Mechanical aptitude? Check!
  • Another sentence in his limited verbal arsenal is, "Is this it?" As in, he tries to put something together, holds up the attempt to a nearby tall person, and asks, "Is this it?" If the answer's no, he tries again. Willingness to learn and persistence? Check!
(He's also quite good with the word "hot" -- so maybe he'll be a framebuilder too, since he already understands the key feature of a welding torch.)

I have to confess, I wasn't the first person to come up with this idea. Local pal Tom A. (who's going into my blogroll ASAP) has already started turning his twin girls into a two-headed mechanical juggernaut. But I may be the first to apply the "Chinese gymnast" approach and start a training regime on a toddler. Hey, mechanics are going to be in demand in my delusional utopia, so there's no time to waste.

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