Weightless – Part 7

(Continued from Part 6 – These are first drafts of a work in progress)

“Yes. Actually we completed it last week and the technicians have been running tests. We had the carpenter shop work on the box, the facilities department work on the cables and ceiling hooks, and the purchasing department order the springs. It took forever, but that’s the way corporations work.”

“How come you’re building this one at home,” Gregory said.

“Like I said, I think this is a better idea and I want to be ready to explain it if given the chance. Now that I think of it, there’s another motivation. I’m learning a whole lot more about the issues of this problem by working on it myself. You get a better feel for the problem. Imagine being a football player but never practicing until the competition. Engineers need to get their hands dirty working on their projects so they can get a sense for the physical issues involved. It seems that everything I’ve personally worked on, with my own hands, has worked out okay.”

“When will you know?”

“Know what?”

“When will you get to present this idea to the people at work?”

“There’s a big meeting tomorrow. I was hoping to have my prototype further along, but…”

“Ah, dad. You’re smart. You’ll convince them. Just take a football with you. By the way, what kind of spring are you going to use to pull on the box?”

“A negator spring.”

“A what?” Gregory responded. What’s a negator spring?”

Mr. Jackson thought for a moment, then looked around the floor then under the wooden box with bearings.

“Here it is.”

“That’s a carpenters tape,” Gregory said.

“Yes, but.” Mr. Jackson pulled a foot or two of tape out of the silver container and let it go, watching as the tape retracted back into the container. “Have you ever seen inside one of these?”


Mr. Jackson handed the carpenters tape and a screwdriver to his son.

(To be continued)

About Kenneth Richard Hardman

AncestorClips are very short stories about very real people. Each clip nurtures awareness of a time, a place, and the character of a man or woman who cultivated a path for our life. The reader feels the good, the obstacles, the happiness, the sadness, and the overcoming. They cheer us, make us resilient when challenged, give us purpose, and connect us to our multi-generational family. Each story is followed by reflections from the author and readers sharing how the story strengthened or inspired them. Ken Hardman is a son, a brother, a grandson, a great-grandson… He is also a husband, father and grand-father. Ken is a professional engineer, engineering mentor, technical writer, and associate technical fellow at a major aerospace company. He is a writer of engineering and family history stories. Please join Ken in reading, reflecting upon, or writing #AncestorClips
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