Inspiration Given Form

There is something truly inspirational about a hardware store.

Wander down the aisles of any good hardware store and marvel at the vast array of objects, each specifically designed to solve a particular problem and yet infinitely repurposable. What makes this particular 7 mm bolt different than that one? What problem was the designer trying to solve? Which grease-infused wrench monkey decided that what the world needed was a screw with a five-sided slot, and why? What can be built with a 60-degree angle bracket? A 45-degree one? A 120-degree one [0]? Hardware is inspiration given form.

In a really good hardware store, you’re allowed to wander freely, unmolested by salesguys [1], muttering to yourself, picking up objects, stuffing your basket full, and making it halfway to the checkout before turning around, putting everything back where you found it, and starting all over again. They understand the process of creative problem solving, and set up their stores accordingly [2].

Any time I’m stuck, a trip to a hardware store goes a long way towards unstuck.

[0] Trick question, of course. The correct answer is “flux capacitor.”
[1] Really good hardware store managers understand that not all who wander are lost.
[2] Really good office supply stores do the same thing.

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