Form vs Function in the Battle of the Sexes

Your Robot Overlords
Originally uploaded by MikeOliveri.

The Midget’s teacher put out a call for parents to help build robots. Who am I to pass up an opportunity to take an hour or so out of the workday to help kids play with aluminum foil, cardboard, and PVC tubing?

Not only was I the only dad to show up, I was the only one to show up with a battery-powered reciprocating saw. Hot glue? Pipe cleaners? Yeah, we’ll get there.

First we need to cut some shit up.

I got to work with the Midget first. I asked him what kind of robot he wanted.

“A Death Robot!”

That’s my boy! By the time we finished, his robot had a jet pack and a flame thrower. If you look at the picture, you’ll see a tall robot with eyes as black and evil as our souls. Yeah. That’s the Death Robot.

That’s about the time I noticed the robots the women were building were all… different. They’re all cutesy smiles and clever, crafty bits that make their robots look all nicey-nice. Sure, a couple had jet packs, but you don’t see any chest-mounted torpedo launchers on their robots. They were more worried about hair and hats.

(Yes, hair. On a robot. No, I don’t get it either.)

Our robot doesn’t even have a mouth. The Midget did ask if it needed one, but in the end we decided it wasn’t going to eat; it would be too busy roasting the flesh from your bones.

Function over form, baby.

The next kid I helped built a different robot. His is the second from the right, with the pipe-cleaner smile and the big doe eyes. Mom obviously packed his kit, because he had a whole rainbow of pipe cleaners and bags of marshmallows and cotton balls. Mom had a design in mind and he rolled with it.

Hey, it’s cool. It’s the kid’s project, after all. We glued it together and he was happy as a clam when he went back to class. Moments later, out came the Midget’s best buddy. He sat down with his scissors and bottle of Elmer’s glue, and he had a bag of whatever knick knacks his folks found at the bottom of a drawer.

“No sweat, Buddy,” I said. “We got all these other parts to work with.”

His eyes lit up as he surveyed the cardboard tubes, the PVC pipes, the extra caps and bottles, and yes, the reciprocating saw.

“Now, what kind of robot do you want to build?”

“I want him to have a sword for chopping up bad guys!”

Not hard to see why he and the Midget were buddies.

“Rockin’.” I picked up the saw. “You want to help me cut up the PVC?”

His expression wasn’t hard to read. A little later we had a squat robot with eye stalks and a jet pack. That’s him to the left of the Midget’s Death Robot. He’s even got big, stomping feet to shake the earth as he walks. Sadly the lunch bell rang before we could work up a sword.

Once again, no mouth. This robot just gets down to business. Friendly? Cuddly? Not when there’s a horror writer and a reciprocating saw involved!

I can’t wait to build some more robots tomorrow.

About Mike Oliveri

Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. He is currently hard at work on the werewolf noir series The Pack for Evileye Books.

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  1. Noah L says:

    Hahaha, yes! My robots always had cannons and lasers on them :P