I stacked my plastic building blocks over a bobby pin, those little plastic or metal hair clips that have been popular since the 1920s. In the years of my childhood, they were made of metal.
In those days, my friends and I learned to bend them backward and fasten one end over the other. It created a little wire loop at the end. If pushed, the bobby pin snapped open and stung the skin of the friends we pushed them against. I remember being snapped many times. It was cruel and painful prank.
The blocks were stacked around this hairpin trigger of metal. My plastic men, collected from cereal boxes, surrounded the blocks—an army of soldiers ready to battle.
I reached into my toy box and pulled out a magnet. It was big and had strong magnetic power. My dad brought it home. It must have been part of some equipment at his plant.
I waved the heavy magnet over the stack of blocks. The bobby pin lifted from the blocks, sprung open and sailed through the air toward the magnet. In the process, the blocks exploded in all directions and knocked the plastic men across the room. A squeal of surprise and delight escaped my lips.
Magic! Magnetism was magic. Invisible lines of power lifted the bobby pin and held it to the face of the magnet.
Many years later, I stood in an airport and met my wonderful wife, Ginny, for the first time. We stared at each other and then were in each other’s arms.
We were like the magnet and the bobby pin. She sits beside me seven years later. We are inseparable. Love and magnetism—the invisible lines of attraction that hold two bodies together.
Michael T. Smith