There comes a time in every designer's career when we're faced with seemingly insurmountable problems: the suddenly crippled development budget, the last-minute change from the capricious client, the psychic competitor who came out of nowhere to beat us to market.
But how many of us have had to fix a race car's blown cylinder with a plastic flag, hm? Or distract a bunch of pursuing Afghani soldiers with nothing more than a Swiss Army Knife and a book of matches? Reading through the long and passionately curated Wikipedia entry "List of problems solved by MacGyver" really helps put things in perspective. That mullet-sporting genius solved so many problems with such grace and charm, there's sure to be something to inspire or comfort any designer in their hour of need. For example:
Episode 1x01: MacGyver plugs a sulfuric acid leak with chocolate.
Episode 1x05: In order to fix a piston connecting rod for a water pump, MacGyver makes an arc welder out of a generator, some jumper cables, and two half dollars.
Episode 2x01: MacGyver builds a telescope using a newspaper, a magnifying lens, and a watch crystal.
Episode 2x10: MacGyver builds a mortar out of a muffler, a small amount of gas, stuffing from a seat cushion, and a steering wheel knob to stop pursuers.
Episode 2x12: To throw his opponents off balance, MacGyver builds bombs out of swamp gas, bamboo shoots, and mud.Careful watchers of the show might point out that it ran for five seasons, while all the examples above are from the first two. This is because the "problems" solved in the later years got increasingly lame:
Episode 3x13: MacGyver fixes a compressor by replacing a broken spring with a battery holding spring from a flash light first cut off to fit.
Episode 4x02: MacGyver fixes a typewriter, from which the pin that holds the ribbon has broken off, with the ink cartridge from a ballpoint pen.
Episode 5x05: MacGyver uses a pulley system fashioned from torn fabric, baling wire, and toy car wheels to assist a small dog in crossing a busy road.
But as long as readers stick to the earlier years, there's much wisdom to be gained. Bonus points also go to contributors identifying those MacGyverisms which have since been verified or busted on Mythbusters (seven so far).
Also, the image above is from a T-shirt on Threadless -- but act quick if you're a guy, as there's only one left. Women's sizes, for some reason, are still in abundant supply.