Tower Power


When I worked at City Farmer, I had an idea for a garden gate. I wanted the gate to lift straight up above the garden. But every “expert” I showed it to said it couldn’t be done. It would have to be more of a garage style door, they all said. But we didn’t have the space to have a large gate sliding into the garden. So I persisted, until I found someone who said it would work. That someone was my brother, a contractor and developer with a very creative bent. He sketched out a plan on a tiny piece of paper. Then I found Davide Pan, an artist who also believed it was possible and he adapted the plan a little from my brother’s original design. The gate is still there and has never malfunctioned.

I should have had that little building project in mind when I was watching my nephew build a skyscraper over the holidays. He insisted on building it straight up from a single block base. He was getting frustrated when it kept falling over. His mom and I kept offering advice on how to make it stand up. Make the base bigger. Use double columns. Link the columns to strengthen them. Basically we were telling him what he was doing was never going to work.

He ignored us. Then, to our amazement, he repeatedly built tower after tower. His record was four feet high. We measured it. Some of the blocks jutted out dangerously over the side but didn’t tip the tower over. I didn’t do well in physics. Thank goodness my nephew takes after his father.

What towering feat will you pull off this year?

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