Wasted Creativity


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.

11 Responses to Wasted Creativity

  1. Barb says:

    Yes. Isn’t it a SHAME of all the waisted talent in jail? They ‘work’ hard for the ‘easy’ buck, breaking the law! Do you know what I mean? ..so many…

    As just a SAMPLE of their ingenious minds, have you seen the tattoo guns that they make out of pens and a few other things. (I don’t know what else they use, but it was unbelieveable.) Have you seen the drawings that they do on handkerchiefs?….or the frames that they make out of gum wrappers???

    ..very wasted creativity….

  2. Linda says:

    I sure wish someone would get a picture of that Sittin’ Minton game. But the picture in my mind is probably better than any that a camera would capture. How funny!

  3. Sandra says:

    Barb — You are so right. I also heard that they would unravel their white tube socks and use,I suppose pens, to crochet or knit crosses. So, much creativity wasted.

    Linda — You’re right. No actual picture could have possibly matched the mental picture we immediately had in our own “creative” minds! 🙂

  4. Hilary says:

    No doubt boredom and lack of resources really inspire creativity. That just doesn’t explain that sittin’minton family though. Too funny.

  5. Sandra says:

    Hilary — As soon as that woman said “sittin’minton”, Linda and I looked at each other and Linda said, “That’s going to be a post isn’t it.” She may not blog but she’s around me enough, she THINKS like a blogger! 🙂

  6. C says:

    Well, I had to go away and think about this after first reading it. I am amazed at the M & M coloring part of the story. It just goes to show you how much we need an outlet for creativity, doesn’t it? And, yes, you’re right. There is so much misdirected energy/talent.

    Sittin mintons??? Are you kidding? No, you could not make that up…C

  7. Sandra says:

    I would NOT kid you, C. Welll, okay, maybe I would. But, not this time. 🙂

  8. rana safdar says:

    come on now…lets get down to brass tacks, just because these poor souls called criminals didn’t get an opportunity they end up using creativity at the tail end instead of using their heads. and its a fact that any one placed in their position would do likewise. the other side of the picture is not very attractive…but it is necessary. sometimes i think society gets the criminals it deserves. they are a product of callous treatment and cold cruelty.

  9. Sandra says:

    An interesting perspective, Rana. Thank you for commenting.

  10. lynn says:

    Hmmm, Sandra, definitely worth thinking about how we can “lighten” the calories of the Thanksgiving meal. That’s neat that your WW group was discussing this. I like the idea of sending guests off with much of the high-calorie “loot.” 🙂 I also like to put stuff in the freezer, like slices of pie, for some other time. Another option is to take an empty pie pan and make a little “pie” with a stuffing (or mashed potato) crust, slivers of turkey, topped off with gravy, then freezing that. You’re not getting rid of the calories, but at least you’re saving some for another day.

  11. Sandra says:

    Lynn — I love your idea for a “pie”. But, this year we have reservations at a favorite restaurant — so no leftovers. Hubby will definitely miss them, but I’ve just said, I do NOT want to gain weight this year during the holidays as I seem to do every year, so I’m going to try to keep my cooking AND baking to as little as possible. 😦 for now, but 🙂 after the first of the year if I can avoid my usual holiday weight gain.

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