Remember the 1980s show, MacGyver? It’s about a top-level agent who gets himself and others he’s sent to rescue out of trouble by rigging whatever is on hand into makeshift solutions. Sometimes he mixes household cleaners to make a bomb. Sometimes, a shiny gum wrapper becomes a fishing lure (that works). Other times, he uses a paperclip and old string to set off a series of distracting events to give himself enough time to escape.
Because of his antics (or the show’s writer’s keen sense of the way things work — one of the writers, by the way, was Henry Winkler of “Fonz” fame) MacGyver’s name has officially become a verb. The meaning of the word is easy to guess. When one MacGyvers something, one is being creative with whatever is on hand to find a solution. In one of my favorite magazines, Latitudes and Attitudes, an interesting article used MacGyvering in the Engine Room as a title for a story about an industrious use of a bike’s inner tube.
One of the characters in my upcoming book, Leaving Lukens, also MacGyvers his own solution to a problem using clockworks. I guess I’m showing my age, but maybe the old television show was influential enough to plant a seed decades ago.
Do you MacGyver?