What if Everyone Used Their Talents for Good

barry currin, stories of a world gone mad, beaverdamusa.comI saw a perplexing sight yesterday while driving down the interstate.

Probably 50 feet off the shoulder of the road sat a temporary building with particle board siding on a construction site.

Someone had painted graffiti on it.

Unfortunately, there’s nothing unusual about a building on a construction site being painted with graffiti.

With apologies to Paul Harvey, here is the rest of the story.

The building was surrounded by an 8-foot chainlink fence which included three or four rows of barbed wire attached to supports that jutted diagonally from the top of the fence.

Without bolt cutters or a cherry picker truck, a person seemingly could not have gotten inside that cage even to save their own life.

It took a special kind of energy, motivation and ingenuity for the guy with the spray paint can to get in.

Here’s a similar, albeit more tragic story.

Forty years ago, my little town built a pair of lighted tennis courts at the city park. We were in heaven, because before that, we had been playing in a friend’s driveway lining up our bicycles tire-to-tire in the middle to create a makeshift net.

The day they were to be completed, we rose at dawn and rode our bikes — which would no longer have to double as tennis nets — down to the courts.

When we got to the park, we were horrified at what we saw. 

Someone had cut down the nets and detached the four big poles holding the lights from their concrete bases and let them fall.

I remember the sick feeling we all experienced.

The obvious question was, why?

The second-most-obvious question was, how did someone find a wrench big enough to fit the bolts which were the diameter of a coffee mug?

It took quite a commitment.

The father of one of my friends quipped it was probably the hardest the vandal had ever worked in his life. I don’t doubt it.

I think about that story when I ponder why someone uses the far reaches of their brain to do something as brainless as breaking through a metal fence merely to tag a building with graffiti.

I think about it when I hear details of a carefully concocted plot someone devises to get away with embezzlement for years.

I think about it when I get an email purportedly from an acquaintance, only to realize their email account has been hacked.

As I was writing this, I got a call from a number from a school in Madison, Ala. I did a little research and learned this number had been hijacked by criminals the same way emails get hijacked.

Think for a moment about people throughout history who have gone to unfathomable lengths to do bad things. I do not doubt they all were either talented, ingenuous or just plain tenacious. Some are likely a combination of all three.

How would civilization be different if those people had used their talents and such energy for the common good? Would cancer and diabetes be diseases of the past? Would we be vacationing on Mars? Would our museums be filled with more beautiful art?

I would love to offer a solution, but I’m not nearly smart enough.

Maybe if the guy who defaced that construction trailer will get on another path and figure it out for us.

I hope so.

About Barry Currin

Barry tries to be funny and poignant, and he's usually satisfied when he succeeds with one or the other. (Being both is awesome. And sometimes that happens.) Email him: currin01@gmail.com

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