The Great Outdoors


An Object

By Any Other Name


I have a lecture that I give to Scouts and it’s about looking at things from a different angle or point of view. It’s a base way to broaden their minds and be able to create or to think differently about objects and situations.

I sometimes hold up an object like a coat hanger and then I’ll ask, “What is this?” I get a lot of hands up when I ask this question because almost everyone knows what a coat hanger is and what it’s used for. I then ask again, “What is this?” and then I’ll start getting strange looks. After a few minutes I’ll start getting answers like, “It’s a piece of wire.” Then they get the idea and tell me it can be a bail replacement for a bucket, a hot dog stick, a TV antenna, a hanger for electric extension cords, a back scratcher, exhaust pipe repair hanger, to be made into pot hooks, use to repair canoe paddles, straightened out it can be used to clean the bore of a rifle, and etc.

At the beginning I’ll have a boy write down on a blackboard the answers I get and at the end of the talk or the session, I’ll ask them if they’ve learned anything and the answer is usually, “Don’t just look at something for what it’s called but look beyond at what else it can be used for.”

By the way, I suggest that anyone going camping, take several coat hangers and a small pair of needle nose pliers with them. Why you can even use them to hang up your uniform at summer camp and avoid the ‘wrinklies’. Your mother and your Scoutmaster will be grateful and you’ll look a lot nicer when you dress for evening meals.

Since plastic coat hangers are taking over, I would suggest locating a wire coat hanger source and squirrel them away for use later on. You never know when you may need a piece of wire to repair something. Check with your neighbors.

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Ray McCune

He has lived in Waynedale for over 45 years. He has taken to his lifelong dream of being a full time Outdoor Freelance Writer and author. Ray has authored one book and has written Kampfire Kookin' as well as other outdoors articles for the newspaper. > Read Full Biography > More Articles Written By This Writer