I was fascinated by the 80’s TV show, MacGyver. It was always interesting to see MacGyver use just his creativity and whatever seemingly unimportant items were at hand, like a scrap of string and a broken chair leg, to do spectacular things, like disarm a bomb or build a bicycle to get away from the bad guys! The writer’s were definitely using their own creativity to come up with such clever plots week after week, and I’m sure were making a very good living doing it.
That’s a example of people who have used their God-given creativity in a positive way. But, not everyone uses their creativity to make their lives better!
When I worked at the jail, I was struck by the creativity of some of the inmates, who obviously hadn’t used their talent to help themselves to a better life. Many times I saw art on envelopes that inmates were mailing that was absolutely beautiful! Especially considering the only thing they had to draw with was a very short, very flexible ballpoint pen. And sometimes the art on the envelopes would be in color! They would achieve that by soaking the M&M’s we sold them, in water to make water colors — how clever. With artistic talent like that, I would think that if they were so inclined they could have had careers that used their talent — like graphic arts or advertising or teaching art.
One time an inmate almost broke out of the jail while I worked there by using a variety of items he managed to lay his hands on (two of the items I remember he used were the baby oil we sold them for dry skin and a small brass plate that he pried off the wall) to heat the brass plate so that he could use the edge of it to work on cutting through the plexiglass “security shield” on the window in his cell. By the time he was discovered, he had managed to weaken the window (which looked out on the roof of another section of the jail, so must have looked like an easy escape route) enough that it was obvious he had then been using his heel to repeatedly kick at the weakened spot. Luckily, before he could get it done, a guard discovered what he was doing. The reason he wasn’t discovered sooner is that until he started the final step — kicking the weakened part of the glass out — the little lines he was making in the window that was back in the corner of his cell, furthest from the door, weren’t noticable.
When I heard about this near-escape (and I did go up to the cellblock and actually saw his handi-work too after he and his cellmate had been moved), all I could think of was what creativity that inmate had used to try to break out of jail, and what a successful life he could have had if he would have used his creativity for something productive, like being an engineer or a scientist! What a waste.
Something happened this week to spark this train of thought. At our WW meeting on Tuesday the discussion was about ways to keep Thanksgiving from derailing the healthy lifestyle we are all working to achieve.
We first discussed ways to “lighten” the meal, and the strategy of sending left-overs home with family members, so that the fattening meal didn’t end up being extended over more than one day as leftovers.
But then the discussion turned to ways to increase the level of calorie-burning activity on that day. It was pointed out that the hostess probably works off alot of her calories with all the preparation, serving and clean-up. And several members volunteered ideas about ways their families get active on that day that work off some of the calories. One told that her family traditionally takes a group walk after the meal, and others told about games they play to get active.
Then one woman said, woefully, that that’s all well and good if your family members really want to get some exercise, but, she pointed out, there are always ways to get around getting exercise if you are creative enough.
And then she gave us an example of her non-exercising family’s creativity. One time when a badminton court had been set up in the back yard, some of her family members sat in lawn chairs while they played! And do you know what they called it? sittin’-minton!!
I would say sittin’-minton was the biggest laugh of the meeting. But, on the serious side, imagine what healthy lives those relatives could have if they used their cleverness and creativity to find ways to exercise.