Friday, May 01, 2020

If I Said . . .

I used a balled up piece of aluminum foil to clean a casserole dish after I burned what I was baking. As I was rising my sparking clean dish, I thought of this character who was known for unconventional solutions to problems at hand.

I'll hum while the theme music of this game show plays and you think.

Did you get it?

The character is "MacGyver", and the game show is Jeopardy.

I really did use that ball of Reynolds Wrap to clean my oven-ready casserole dish. As I was cleaning I couldn't remember the magazine that had offered me "10 clever ways to use aluminum foil." What I did remember was MacGyver. I felt really clever when the mess cleaned right up -- clever because I had remembered -- and I thought again about my long list of things I'd like to know how to do.

Never having been a Girl Scout, I have a small collection of those hardcover books for children with the instructions on how to do things like start a fire without matches or find your way in the woods. I also have a go-to book for adults -- The US Army Survival Manual. In fact, my protagonist, Lizzie Stuart, has read the Army's guide to surviving in challenging situations. She is engaged to a man who was an Army Ranger, a military police officer, and a homicide detective. He also has a master's degree in criminal justice and FBI training. Lizzie likes people who know how to do things. She finally learned how to swim because he does and she thought it was time she overcame her fear of the water. And wouldn't you know that at some point that knowledge would come in handy. Two books later, after mentioning in that book in the next that she was taking swimming classes, she found herself in danger of a watery death. She wasn't ready for the Olympics, but she was able to do what she needed to do..

But I started this post intending to write about iconic characters like MacGyver or Sherlock Holmes or Adrian Monk. Characters who are so unique or groundbreaking that if you mention their name that's sufficient to explain what you mean. For example, I can say to a friend of mine that I had a "Monk moment" when I dropped something on my kitchen floor and she knows exactly why I threw out my expensive steak instead of rinsing it off and cooking it.

I don't know about you, but I would love to have a character like the one whose name comes to mind when someone says, "I went down the rabbit hole." I still go down that rabbit hole with Alice. That book was one of the inspirations for my near-future police procedural, The Red Queen Dies.

Who makes your list of iconic characters? Alice was the only female character I mentioned, but there are others. However, I have to get to work. My notifications are popping up.

Take care, everyone.


Susan D said...

"Lizzie likes people who know how to do things."

Yup. Competence porn. Love it.

Frankie Y. Bailey said...


LOL. Definitely. If I ever have to evacuate, I'll grab Harry, my cat, and my Army survival manual.