Damaged Stuff

August 6, 2015

Tags: air conditioning, hot weather, paddle-ball, damaged people, robotic intelligence, Vacation Bible School.

It's too hot to blog. But also too hot to do anything else, so I'm writing and sweating and hoping my air conditioning doesn't go out. It's running day and night like a mad thing and I can sense its exhaustion. If it had any sort of robotic intelligence, I'd feel sorry for it--something I almost already do, as it is.

When I was a kid, I felt kinship with inanimate objects. I guess most kids do, but I took mine to an extreme. When given my weekly allowance, I sometimes spent it on damaged stuff I knew nobody else would buy from the five-and-dime: the figurine of a horse with a crack in its leg or a little diary with a broken spine. During a week of Vacation Bible School at church, I gladly traded my intact paddle-ball for one with a snapped rubber band. My mother praised me for my good deed, never realizing I had done it not for the sniveling little boy (can't recall his name) upset with his defective toy, but for the toy itself. He was going to throw it into the trash, poor thing, and it wasn't its own fault it was broken. Didn't it deserve a chance at life? So I took it home, pulled out the staple holding two inches of rubber band to the board, then attached in its place the longer portion still tethered to the red ball. Bingo! Good as new, for my purposes. Okay--so maybe it didn't soar as high on that shorter rubber band, but I wasn't very good at paddle-ball anyway and a shorter leash helped me stay under it. And I'd learned at age nine how to pry a staple out of wood and then push it back in again with needle-nose pliers.

In time, I became good at fixing broken things because I felt sorry for them. I still do. I know it's weird. But hey.

Most of my novels deal with damaged people, now that I think about it; many of them physically. I guess I have a need to repair damaged people too, and the only place I can do that is on paper. But I can't fix air conditioners.


  1. December 20, 2015 10:32 AM EST
    Seeing damage and fixing it... Hear hear!

    I'm reading your book Worst Day... At the moment, Jeanne is away from Velma for Rad's graduation and is trying to sleep, in the hotel. But she can't. I'd love to tell her about a fix for that I know of! It's a good book. I came across it in my daily list of BookBub recommendations and I'm so glad I did. I'll miss it when I've finished reading it. I intend to read the others you've written, too.
    - A new MA Harper fan
  2. December 20, 2015 11:27 AM EST
    So glad to hear that WORST DAY is working for you! Thanks for taking the time to let me know. You're swell!
    - M. A. ("Annette") Harper