Hold that bit of Lego, I need it to save lives

Mt Druitt - St Mary's Standard (East) - - NEWS - Mi­randa Mur­phy is a mother of three and a jour­nal­ist at The Aus­tralian. Fol­low her on Twit­ter @mur­phymi­randa

THERE’S a game I some­times play af­ter the kids have gone to bed, in­volv­ing the many ran­dom home­less ob­jects and tiny bits of toy I’ve picked up and trousered while tidy­ing.

I turn out my pock­ets, stare at the mot­ley col­lec­tion of items and think: what would MacGyver do?

He’s the TV ac­tion dude who would avert catas­tro­phe each episode by rig­ging up in­ge­nious so­lu­tions from or­di­nary ob­jects, like fix­ing the brakes on a speed­ing train us­ing only den­tal floss and a mouse­trap.

My game’s a sort of re­verse-en­gi­neered MacGyver; it’s Mur­phGyver.

I gather all the bits and pieces of kid-re­lated crap I’ve picked up off the floor, un­der chairs, down the side of the sofa. Then I imag­ine how to use them to sal­vage a life-or­death movie sit­u­a­tion.

Here’s one evening’s booty emp­tied from my pock­ets: small bendy skeleton, coiled plas­tic snake, rib­bon, $2 coin, pen­cil sharp­ener, hair­pin, toy car tyre, con­struc­tion bolt, Hun­gry Hippo ball, shoelace.

MacGyver would prob­a­bly use th­ese to dis­arm a mis­sile, free peo­ple from a lift and still have time to do to­mor­row’s school lunches.

Per­haps he could build a tiny uni­cy­cle, make a de­cep­tively deadly macramé owl or sab­o­tage North Korea’s satel­lite pro­gram?

In the end I set­tled on stag­ing a jail­break (hair­pin, bolt, shoelace, $2 bribe) by em­ploy­ing witch­craft (skeleton, snake, rib­bon) and booby traps (pen­cil sharp­ener, car tyre, Hun­gry Hippo ball).

My handbag also yields rich pick­ings. To­day, apart from keys, wal­let, phone and 86 pens I have: a lid­less texta, a plas­tic di­nosaur, pawpaw oint­ment, a child’s sock, ear­buds, a string of pa­per ele­phants with bells on them, a hand­ful of Lego and a sin­gle, bat­tered jig­saw piece.

They say you can tell a lot about a woman from the con­tents of her bag. If any­one looked in mine, hope­fully they’d think: “Whoa! Here’s a lady who’s handy in an emer­gency.”

Any­way, by the time I’ve amused my­self with this game – and re­alised I re­ally do need to get out more – I can’t be both­ered re­turn­ing all the lit­tle things to their right­ful places so just tip them into an ever-bur­geon­ing “mis­cel­la­neous” bas­ket.

The re­sult is we have the most frus­trat­ing toys ever. Jig­saw puz­zles with a sin­gle bit miss­ing. In­cred­i­bly hun­gry hip­pos with just four balls be­tween them. Hob­bled, three-wheeled cars. A struc­turally un­sound con­struc­tion kit.

But that mis­cel­la­neous bas­ket is Mur­phGyver gold – but­tons, Blu-Tack, dolls’ shoes, dice, screws, beads. I could build a space sta­tion ... af­ter I’ve fin­ished th­ese fully weaponised roller­skates.

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