In Defense of the Screw

I’ve been posting a lot of “Life” stuff lately because I’m working at Apple and the IPA says I can’t do engineer-y things off work while I’m here for the summer. No worries, I’ll get right back into the thick of things with the new school year in September. Until then, read my thoughts and look at pretty pictures–I have plenty of both, haha.

Anyhow, this post was originally titled, “In Defense of the Pawn”, but I felt that a pawn’s promotion and evolution upon reaching the 8th row had a different meaning than what I was looking for. I don’t want to talk about how a caterpillar suddenly grows in worth when it becomes a butterfly, or how the ugly duckling becomes great because it was a swan all along. They are marvelous stories, but I want to be something different than that. I wanna be a screw.

I’m not sure when or why I decided I wanted to be a good person, but that decision has definitely shaped the way I act. There’s something beautiful in the altruistic, something that I really want as part of my life. I want to be the pinch of salt that ties together a dish, the last semi-colon in a line of code.

Is that selfish? Perhaps. I often wonder if it’s alright for me to want to help, to do my best in assisting others in their goals. I wonder if I’m chasing a dream of selflessness, or if deep down, I’m just wrapping a tangled need to be needed with the pretty wrapping paper of altruism. And I doubt…. and the doubt tastes like cotton in my mouth, making a mess of all the things I want to say.

Today, I was flipping through some old things I had jotted down and came across the beginning of a college admission essay I had written in 12th grade. Seventeen year old me rambled on about pawns and how she endeavors to reach her 8th row–she can’t wait to become something different. She talks about helping out in small ways, to the best of her ability as a little pawn. She talks about moving forward, step by step, until the sum of her actions leads her to the other side of the board and to her promotion. That Sophie wants to be a good person, just like this one, but believes all that she does amounts to nothing but a single bubble in a glass of champaign. She needs to change to matter.

Now, as a seasoned adult, I have some different opinions. Yes, everyone changes, but I wouldn’t say that one needs to be big or have big ambitions to make a big change. We’re pieces in a huge Rube Goldberg machine, the end of which is so far away that we can’t see our effect. Yet, if the third domino in such a machine were to miss it’s target, the whole thing would come to a screeching halt.

Back to my original point: A screw is just that. It’s not the single thing keeping a building from collapsing. It is however, one of many screws that hold an L-bracket in place, which holds a support, which holds a bigger support, which keeps a building from collapsing. A screw is small, and super cheap, but literally nothing would work if these little supporters weren’t selflessly doing their business. To me, life is best enjoyed in the midst of others, as the top of the tower is lonely. Being a supporter is enough.

Though you and I may not be the ones that solve cancer or war, our footsteps leave echoes that could lead to something amazing.

As a farewell present, my favorite song:



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