Does Your Etch a Sketch Need Shaking?

I suppose I got my first (and only) Etch a Sketch in 1960-61 just after they came on the market. I think that it was the forerunner of the iPad. Of course, the 12 year olds of today would probably disagree with me on that.

As far as parents were concerned, it was a wonderful toy. It didn’t require batteries, and it did require that you sit quietly and use both hands to operate. If you jiggled too much, you would erase your picture. And if you had a pesky brother or sister, which I had, they would sneak up and deliberately shake you.

Etch a Sketch made the news this week when one of Romney’s advisors brought it up. He said, regarding Romney’s fall campaign, that, “You can kind of shake it up and restart it all over again.” Oh, if life was only that easy. This particular advisor is now finding out it doesn’t quite work that way.

As an aside, Etch a Sketch is now in the National Toy Hall of Fame along with that perennial favorite the “lazy spring”, AKA the Slinky.

Romney’s advisor had the right idea, though. We should be able to “shake” our lives and draw a new picture. The only problem with that concept is that we and others remember all of the pictures that were there before. Like the guy said, “If I had known it [life] was going to be like this, I would have made better plans.”

Otto Neurath commented, “We are like sailors who must rebuild their ship on the open sea, without ever being able to dismantle it in dry dock and reconstruct it from the best components.”

So, in shaking our Etch a Sketch, we have two issues, the memories of previous pictures and rebuilding while en route. Both issues present challenges. In order to rebuild, one has to have a new picture, a new plan, of what the ship is to look like after the reconstruction. The old pictures must be banished from your memory. If your friends persist with the old pictures, sorry, but you need new friends. You, version 2.0, need all the support you can get in this life journey.

The rebuilding is tough because the ship has to keep moving while it’s under reconstruction. Some outside assistance always helps, though. That and a good plan plus an excellent vision of the finished work and the job can be accomplished. Bon Voyage!