Monday, August 1, 2011

Wisdom from a DIY Master

A few months back I had the privilege of interviewing Lance Greathouse, a dental laser repair technician who builds some seriously inventive machines in his spare time. Frightening robots, souped-up wheelchairs, and more. I wrote about his latest creation, a drive-able, fire-spewing tailgating rig, in this piece for Popular Science, but I was also struck by what we'll call his philosophy, or at least the parts of it we discussed. None of this made it into the story, which covered what he did and why he did it, so I figured I'd share some here.

On the creative impulse:

"I get an idea in my head and I've got to build it or I go nuts. It's a sickness. Once I see something I've got to build it or I just go crazy."

The benefits of building:

"When I'm working on something my mind is clear. That's how I relax. People think I'm nuts because I'm out here hammering on something until one in the morning, but that's how I relax. Some people fish, some people watch TV, some people build."

On putting down the phone:

When people ask him how he creates so many cool machines in his spare time, Greathouse asks them to hand him their phone. Then he turns it off and puts it away. "How can you focus on anything when you're always looking at your phone all the time?" he asks.

And on raising kids:

"If I could go back and do it over I would totally eliminate the video games. I hate that stuff with a passion. The kids waste so much time on that and they have absolutely nothing to show for that time. I'd rather my kids go out and collect rocks or sticks."