It’s A Rube Goldberg World

Rube Gold·berg (ro̵̅o̅b′ gōld′bərg) n. a comically involved, complicated invention, laboriously contrived to perform a simple operation.

Rheumatoid Arthritis Guy flew must have passed through a space-time continuum this past weekend, because he now finds himself in a new universe. In this world, the goal is no longer to squeeze three tasks into one, shave a few seconds of accomplishing an activity, and then use these efficiency savings to squeeze even more work into the day. (Sounds like a silly way to do things when you think of it this way, no?)

I just got back from my consultation with a physical therapist. We have an action plan with three priorities: 1. hands/wrists, 2.feet/ankles, and 3.knees. The work starts tomorrow. I’ve been asked to purchase more superhero gear – some gloves to sleep with, some padded gloves to use when I am walking with my crutches, and some different types of wrist wraps. (Wonder Woman move over, Rheumatoid Arthritis Guy is going to give you some fierce competition in the costume category!)

Goldberg

I continue to find that completing tasks is no longer a matter of going from Point A to Point B, as was the norm for me up until couple of weeks ago. Out of nowhere a bunch of other points, all out of order, have appeared in between. Something as simple as opening a bag of potato chips requires me to locate my cane or crutches (I think I need to start implementing the Dutch bicycle model where I have multiple canes and crutches throughout the house!), and then I have to find a pair of scissors, and then I have to cut the bag open, and then I have to get a bowl, and so forth. And condiment packets – don’t even get me started…those things should be banned. (For those lucky enough to be by an In-N-Out Burger, it’s the best – you can pump your ketchup into little paper cups.)

So yesterday I started thinking that if I was going to have to complicate what used to be simple, I might as well have fun with it. The image of Rube Goldberg contraptions entered my mind, and I knew exactly what I now needed to do. (When I was in middle school I used to check out this book repeatedly, I was so in love with the contraptions that required twenty steps to dry an umbrella. A few years ago I bought a copy of the book to have at home, this morning it came off my bookshelf and onto my nightstand.)

On a little side note – I was also a big fan of the Mousetrap board game. I think that was on the top of my wishlist for my tenth birthday (I am just a few years ahead of the video game generation). I remember taking it home with such excitement, as the commercial which showed the Rube Goldberg contraption of bathtub, diver, gears, marble run, and mousetrap was so cool. So what I want to know – is there anyone out there who was ever able to make the hope contraption work from start to finish??? The pieces were made of such flimsy plastic that my game could barely stand up much less perform as expected.

Okay, rant’s over…back to my main point.

I don’t know how long I will be living in this Rube Goldberg world, but I think it can be a pretty fun thing to explore from now moving forward.

When I left the dining table after lunch, I passed a mirror and saw that when I shaved this morning, I missed two large patches on my upper lip – making me look like an infamous German individual from history. It looks like all I need now is to come up with my own Rube Goldberg contraption to ensure I am properly shaved in the morning. Any suggestions?

I think I might go watch some Wallace & Gromit right now and get my mind off my rheumatoid arthritis. If you have any personal stories on complicated way of completing simple tasks, please do share!

Stay tuned…for the next adventure of Rheumatoid Arthritis Guy!

4 Comments
4 comments
  1. Sara says:

    none of my solutions ended up with any fancy concoctions, but I would use pliers for a myriad of things from opening up water bottles to zipping up dresses, and in order to dry my hair, I would hang over upside down so that gravity could assist my arms. Ditto with putting on deodorant upside down.
    You have such a gift for reimagining your situation! Thanks for sharing it with all of us, too.

  2. Millicent says:

    I just laughed right out loud when I read the part about your looking like an infamous individual from German history! You continue to entertain us with your imaginative writing, and all the while you’re waging war. You rock!

  3. Kali says:

    I loved Mousetrap! I’ve got a very deft touch with things, so we did get the whole machine to work sometimes. Once in a while, something funny would happen, like the ball or the marble would miss where it was supposed to go, but it would roll over and hit the base of the stick that holds up the little red plastic…’net’? that comes down over the mouse and the mouse would get caught even though the whole machine failed!

  4. Erika says:

    I have no lovely contraptions such as the ones you’re coming up with. All I do is talk to my computer when I’m too tired to type. It takes care of the rest for me.

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