Things that don’t work

Column by Michael Alcorn
Posted 5/4/22

My Myers-Briggs personality type is, if memory serves, the INTJ, I think. Or maybe it’s INOR (in need of repair).

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Things that don’t work


My Myers-Briggs personality type is, if memory serves, the INTJ, I think. Or maybe it’s INOR (in need of repair). Something. Anyway, the thing I remember about the profile of this personality type is “…will ruthlessly apply to every situation the question ‘does it work?’”

And I love finding things that work. Also, it explains, I suppose, why I tend to get on peoples’ nerves — thirty years in the public schools, you tend to discover a few things that don’t work.

For instance, last week was chaos around my house. We had a guy come in and re-do our kitchen cabinets (not doing it myself is one way of finding things that work). So, as soon as Easter dinner was over and cleaned up, we were emptying cabinets and moving appliances and desperately trying to find places for all the stuff that has accumulated over 20 years. And, let me tell you, the anticipation of a week being banished from our kitchen was… excellent.

But, you know what? It really was excellent. In the first place, the cabinetry actually came in two months earlier than we were told to expect by the big box store we purchased through, so that’s really nice. And then Jim, the contractor, showed up on time, he was neat, he talked us through the process and was open to our thoughts about things, and he actually got the job done a day early. And, apparently, cabinetry isn’t his only skill; he said he’s built a number of homes from the ground up. So… if you need a guy, I got a guy.

On the other hand, the “allen wrench” system isn’t excellent. We ordered a cabinet for our living room back in February, and were told at the time that it was likely to arrive in early April. Fine—I get it. And then the updates started coming in: April 15th; April 23rd; April 29th. May 3rd. And again—fine. It’s irritating, but whatever.

Do you want to guess when it arrived? Last Wednesday…yes, on the same day Jim was finishing up our kitchen. Because there wasn’t enough to do for us that day, and we would have never planned for that conjunction. And even that wouldn’t have been a problem, if we had just been informed that it was scheduled to arrive. Instead, I just got an update via email this morning: its arrival has been pushed out until May 11th.

What do I mean by “allen wrench” system? That’s my own shorthand for the world of “some assembly required” home projects that are bizarrely dependent on those annoying little hexagonal, L-shaped pieces of metal which pass (poorly) for tools. Allen wrenches don’t work. You know what else doesn’t work? Glass and tile drill bits. I’ll save that story for a much later time.

Sitting here, writing, while watching the NFL draft. Speaking of things that work… the National Football League works! Think about this night, which is just the first of what has morphed over the years into a three-day spectacle. On this night, 32 young men were “hired” by NFL teams; statistically speaking, only 8 of them are going to be great (“All Pro”); only 13 of them are likely to have very good years ever (“Pro Bowl”); and somewhere around 10 of them are going to be fired soon. In other words, there is likely nowhere in sports an event given more importance and more hype, with as little correlation to success. And yet, tomorrow we’re going to read that the television ratings for this event far exceed any of the N.B.A. playoff games, the World Series, or any soccer or hockey event you want to mention.

And, while I’m on sports, Nikola Jokic works. Like… wow, works. Will Barton, not so much.

Have a great week. Make things work.

Michael Alcorn is a former teacher and current writer who lives in Arvada with his wife and three children. His new novel, “Valkyrie’s Kiss,” a finalist in the ScreenCraft Book Competition, is available now at His opinions are not necessarily those of Colorado Community Media.


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