The unquestioned mechanic’s easy guidelines for fine-tuning a life. Part 4.
“What I create is mine, what you see is yours!”
My last year with the company was very eventful.
A merger with a smaller business created all kinds of havoc and led to the rumor-mill working overtime.
“Who would step into new positions of power?”
“Will we be able to co-exist with the new people?”
Later in that same year, a motorcar accident claimed The Mechanic’s son.
And ultimately that tragedy led to a series of events that contributed to the collapse of his marriage.
A few months before that black curtain was drawn over my friend’s life we found ourselves on-site, installing software and setting up factory-automation processes.
We were all set to see if our potato-crisp packager worked.
The Mechanic flicked the switch on my controller box but nothing happened.
The big guy was a part-time artist but a brutal realist nonetheless.
Paintings could be abstract but he felt his art only made sense if he grounded himself within his perceptions of reality.
I knew he often got annoyed by artists who convinced themselves that the mere label of “artist” automatically preceded a stereotypical array of mannerisms and a life that’s potentially detached from “uncreative mortals.”
He often said he had no compunction about flaying a dead body open to study the inner working of muscles ligaments and bones.
“If you wish to appreciate the smooth graceful movement of an arm or leg, it makes sense to understand musculature.”
He often spoke about the great masters of old to prove his point.
“Imagine the bloody mess Da Vinci made when he cut to the bone to understand human anatomy!”
“Pun intended,” he said.
“It’s no wonder he revolutionized realistic drawing!”
Unlike Da Vinci, he never really dissected a corpse. But I’m secretly confident he would’ve tackled something like that had he studied under the great Renaissance man.
The Mechanic was not only one of the most practical artists I ever stumbled across, but he was also one of the biggest pragmatists I ever met.
Let’s not beat about the bush though— That man could wax lyrical about the intricate patterns on a ceramic tile and manage to write an epic poem about it.
It’s just that he seldom allowed his artistic endeavors to feed emotion that spilled into the personal space of other people.
When he painted something it was always with raw emotion and a muse cracking the whip behind him.
But he never expected anyone to understand how he felt when he created the painting,
On occasion, I met artists who felt devastated when the “meaning” behind their work wasn’t as apparent to other people as it was to them.
If his art left anyone cold, that’s just how it was.
“What I create is mine, what you see is yours,” he would often say.
“So what would DaVinci do?”
We looked at the unresponsive packaging machine.
“I guess he would’ve cracked it open?”
It appeared as if I took the words right out of his mouth.
The best thing about working with the Mechanic was his practical no-fuss approach to everything work-related.
“It is what it is,” became his mantra.
As it turned out I made a rookie mistake when I updated the software inside our little box of tricks.
I didn’t initiate the monitoring service which in turn was responsible for kicking off everything else.
Fortunately, it was a quick fix.
The Mechanic simply shrugged when I apologized for the time wasted.
The eternal pragmatist smiled and nodded.
“At least I managed to get another look at the neat work you did.”
He could’ve been condescending, but he wasn’t.
Not once did I ever experience him belittling anyone who made a mistake.
“The best artworks are those with a few flaws,” he said.
“Sometimes an artist might even want to add a few planned imperfections.”
“Not only does a noticeable flaw anchor a painting, in reality, it also helps to prevent novices from scrutinizing every square inch for imperfections. The sooner they find a mistake that satisfies the human propensity for being a critic, the sooner they can stand back and enjoy the art.”