Learn to Work Well With Others

How to Make an Bomber Using a Matchstick
and a Bunch of Frozen Flies

By Denis Boyles

Take a wooden matchstick and slice a thin sliver from one side.
Then cut the remaining stick in two, lengthwise.
Make sure you leave a little of the red tip intact for effect.
Discard one half.

Make the aircraft by glueing the sliver of wood
- the wing - across the remaining part of the matchstick - the fuselage.
If you want, you can use little scraps to make a tail section.
Or you can make a biplane.
Or you can use a couple of thin slices of balsa to make a huge wing,
one that will carry maybe twenty engines.
Indulge your aeronautical whims.
Think of lift, think of thrust, think of innovation without the benefit of an industrial policy.

Catch a bunch of flies. One option: Put them in a jar and put the jar in the freezer.
In a few seconds the flies will be chilled out completely.

This is called cryogenics, and it has its drawbacks.
For example, the flies will be dead flies if you freeze them too long.
Dead flies are no good.
So if you're a tinkerer, refrigerate your flies.
It takes longer to make them comatose,
but they have a higher recovery rate
than the ones you put in the freezer between the peas and the burritos.

Meanwhile, put a tiny drop of rubber cement
at each place along the wing where you want an engine.

Take the flies out of the freezer.
Attach the abdomen of one frigid fly to each drop of glue.
Proper orientation is important.
Make sure all the flies are facing the same direction.

Breathe life into the flies.
A miracle: A gentle puff of your warm breath will resuscitate the flies.

Launch the aircraft.
It should fly like a charm, and, far from being cruel to the flies,
you'll be teaching them teamwork, a new and valuable thing, and one that brings us to the point of this exercise.

For we see that while flies think a lot alike, have a great deal in common,
and share many of the same hopes and dreams, they never act in concert, as a community of shared interests, with regard for the worth of other,
neighboring flies, until forced by grim circumstance - as, for example, when they are harnessed to fly
and either first experience the exhilaration of cooperation or die.
Redeemed by such a critical choice, they'll soar, loop, race, or, when tempted by a barnyard or kennel,

Adapted from the 60th Anniversary Issue of Esquire Magazine.
Copyright reserved. Reprinted by permission.

This UN Story is 15 years old. Nothing has changed..
Get back to my books.