Oct 27, 2011

John M. Browning, economist

A fine internet  perk is running across things far more valuable than what you were  looking for. I was Binging for an insignificant detail about John M. Browning and found a passage about him at age 13 or so.

A freighter stopped by his dad's gun works and gave John M. a "high-quality shotgun" which had been smashed up. The boy set out to renew it. His first efforts fizzled.

"Finally the idea came. A good idea starts a celebration in the mind, and every nerve in the body seems to crowd up to see the fireworks. It was a good idea, one of the best I ever had, and so simple it made me ashamed of myself. Boylike, I had been trying to do the job all at once with some kind of magic. And magic never made a gun that would work.* I decided to take the gun apart, piece by piece, down to the last small screw, even though [the] parts that were mashed and twisted together. And when I did, finally finishing long after supper that night, the pieces all spread out before me on the bench, I examined each piece and discovered that there wasn't one that I couldn't make myself, if I had too. If I had been in school that day, I would have missed a valuable lesson"


*Or an economy, either,  he surely would have said if someone had asked him.


I probably would have found that less striking if I hadn't just reviewed the magical incantations about the Greek bailout.


Thank you Ron Shirtz

1 comment:

Phssthpok said...

I can't tell you how many times I've saved a significant amount of money, as well as figuring out how things work, by simply taking the position of "Well...It's broke. I can't make it any less useful to me by futzing with it, but I *might* just figure out how to fix it if I do, so what the hell...where's my screwdriver?"