Griffin approached me at the end of the day on Sunday.
"Do you have anything I can take apart?" he asked.
This question should probably strike terror into my heart. I have, in the past, occasionally regretted teaching him to use such versatile tools as a screwdriver, hand saw, and eraser (both "magic" and regular varieties). Sucker for dabbling that I am (and, ok, desperate to get the kids involved in something besides climbing up my butt), I send my mind on an attic raid, and recalled a portable stereo that hadn't been used in years. The CD player skips hopelessly and one speaker grill has a hole in it, a souvenir of the summer when I was 19 and my 18 year-old brother and his friend helped me move into my junior year dorm room. The friend threw a screwdriver at the stereo box, and of course the shaft went through the box, into the grill, stopping just shy of the actual speaker. Tool. Anyway, this thing is 15+ years old, wouldn't fetch much at a yard sale, and it's not worth fixing, so yeah, kid, you wanna take it apart? Ok. Basic safety lecture on not ever dismantling an appliance while it's plugged in, yada yada, GO.
The next thing I know, I hear scissors. Yes, I can identify the sound of scissors cutting metal. If you were me, you could, too. So I inspect, and discover that since he and his brother had exhausted the possiblities for items that could be loosened or removed by hand (stereo wires, spring from CD player, battery compartment cover), and a mere screwdriver had proven ineffective for the further disassembly of the stereo, Griff had recalled that Dan's old CUTCO shears can slice through a penny, and decided to give them a go on the grill. Worked like a charm. Except that now there were various pieces of peeled-back, razor-sharp metal grill. Whoa, Nelly. On the other hand, total awesomeness, because now we had an unhindered view of the speaker, plenty of gritty bits on the speaker to bounce around with sound, and a perfect opportunity to learn about the equalizer. AWESOME.
Sound-wave experiment over (and shredded speaker removed, rendering the former stereo into a mono), fascination switched to the TOTAL AMAZINGNESS that is FM radio. Turns out that, given control over the dial, my children prefer '90s R&B, gospel, and NPR news, in that order. I think we all learned something today. Oh, and it kept them occupied for HOURS. Triple word score.
Next up: 13" pre-digital television dissection, anyone?