Apprentice's Challenge

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Junkyard Invitationals

It's July, 2001. Fourteen episodes in the can and so far the ratings look good. Now's the time for the All Star show. But with a Junkyard difference, of course :-)

Do you know your onions? The definitive test of competence is the ability to pass your skills along, ideally into younger hands.

So howzabout an Apprentice Challenge?

Two (or more) teams, selected by the producers are invited to participate. Each Returning Team is assigned a matching number of Apprentices. The Apprentices are to do all of the work, instructed by the Returning Team members.

The Challenge wouldn't be very complicated, something any Apprentice could accomplish if given suitable instruction such as building an engine or perhaps the wing of an airplane. Real engines of course. They would have to run. If we used Volkswagen engines we could plug them into a dune buggy and give each Apprentice a short driving lesson as well. And real airplane wings, perhaps the outboard panel of a Teenie Two... which would then be bolted to the airframe and test-flown (although not by the Apprentice). These would be set-piece exercises with the parts provided in ready-to-assemble condition (or nearly so :-)

Messages to this List from youngsters show there is no lack of interest nor of skilled youngsters, too, any of whom would make wizard apprentices. But what of UNSKILLED youngsters? What of the many boys as well as girls who wouldn't recognize a pair of pliers if it snuck up and nipped them on the assembly? And howz about kids who ride a wheelchair to work or those required to beat life's bushes with a cane, see with their ears and read with their fingers?

The truth is, if you REALLY know your onions the abilities of your apprentice are relatively unimportant, you simply translate the information into terms they can understand and get on with the job.

Boring show, eh? Mentoring and all that. Buncha girls riveting up a wing panel or a gaggle of sixth graders building a real, live noisy as hell, It Runs!! kinda engine. Never work. Think of all the production problems! Safety and all that. They don't make kid-sized welding gloves or even kid-sized safety goggles. (Of course, that's the kind of problems PRODUCERS are paid to solve. If they know their onions.) And besides, who'd you get to test-fly that mother? (Besides me, I mean :-)

Know your onions? Then pass them on.

-R.S.Hoover

-- Robert S. Hoover (veeduber@pacbell.net), February 19, 2001


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