R is for Right, I know my Robinsons

Goldberg Rube. machine. olive. anl.gov .rube_olive

My husband has jerry rigged a Bluetooth connection to his mobile in our ancient (pre-Bluetooth) Ford Fiesta.

“It’s very Heath Robinson,” he said.

I glared at him belligerently from my interrupted bubble bath.

“Who is Heath Robinson?” I asked timidly.

BearGryllsI thought maybe he was one of those Reality TV survivalists who are dropped off on desert islands with nothing more than a roll of duct tape.

Apparently, I was thinking of Bear Grylls, a name I remember by Bear Growls.

“Oh my God,” ejaculated Husband in disbelieving horror, “Don’t tell me you don’t know who Heath Robinson is?”

I pondered this feeling insecure and stupid.

friday_quote“Um, no. I know of Robinson Crusoe and Man Friday?”

“Ha!” he cried, “Well done. Exactly, Heath Robinson.”

“Um no,” I suggested, “It’s been a while since I read it, but as I remember Robinson Crusoe was not called Heath.”

“I shall go and Google it,” he exclaimed slamming the door and stomping off.

I gave a deep sigh of relief and sank back beneath the bubbles.

I enjoyed a few minutes respite before he was back.

This he time knocked, opened the door a crack and head hanging entered the bathroom.

“You were right,” he mumbled, “Heath Robinson was not Robinson Crusoe.”

Score me!

crusoeRobinson Crusoe is the tale of a man on a desert island who meets his friend, Man Friday.

It is probably not regarded as politically correct reading material these days.

heath_robinson_pancakeHeath Robinson, on the other hand, was an English cartoonist, better known for his totally useless, impractical, but ingenious inventions.

He was called the Gadget King.

A sort of Dr Seuss inventor.

Heath Robinson was the original Rube Goldberg. Many of Heath’s inventions worked, they just expended an awful lot of energy to get the job done.

Rube Goldberg pioneered what is now the very successful Rube Goldberg Machine Contest.

The spirit of his cartoons inspires the contest’s weird machines and crazy mechanisms.

An example of a Rube Goldberg machine

An example of a Rube Goldberg machine

A good Rube Goldberg machine incorporates the everyday machines people are used to seeing and connects them in ways that may seem idiotic or ingenious.

You have to construct a machine that uses at least 20 individual steps to complete an assigned task.

jamesbridle-playful.010Click here to read about the winner from 2011.

They had to create a machine to water a plant.

Watch it on YouTube.

 

 

 

 

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15 thoughts on “R is for Right, I know my Robinsons

  1. I love your dialogue, I can just picture it in my head playing out. I love reading your entries, especially when I put my 8 year old hellions to bed and finally get some peace out of the precious few hours left in my day to sit here and read with my (also precious) glass of vino. Your blog makes it worth it. This post was great, though a single mom now, back in the married days my husband would have never admitted he was wrong and said those “you are right” words. Mucho kudos to you ;-).

  2. This is a lovely story – of the power if language in its transmission. He used the idiomatic phrase correctly, without reference to or knowledge of its etymology, which is rendered surplus with vernacular acceptance.

      • Thank you. I have no doubt you understood! There is an enigmatic beauty in such a neat example of the process by which an idiom can cross boundaries. (By the way, when I first learned the term, pre-Google, I thought it was something on TV that had not been part of my childhood!)

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