I figure that most people who respond to today’s one-word prompt, “rube,” will handle it in one of two ways. They will either write about rube as a country bumpkin — you know, someone who just fell off of the turnip truck — or they’ll write about Rube Goldberg.
I’m going the Rube Goldberg route.
I once worked with a guy who was quite brilliant. However, as smart as he was, he tended to overly complicate things. He never seemed to be able to take the most direct path toward the solution to any problem. Of course, he earned the nickname, “Rube.” But it wasn’t because he was someone fresh off the farm. It was an homage to Rube Goldberg.
So who is Rube Goldberg? He was a Pulitzer Prize winning American cartoonist, sculptor, author, engineer, and inventor. He died in 1970, but he is best remembered for a series of popular cartoons depicting complicated gadgets that perform simple tasks in indirect, convoluted ways. These creations became known as a “Rube Goldberg machines.”
So what is a Rube Goldberg machine? It’s a deliberately complex contraption in which a series of devices that perform simple tasks are linked together to produce a domino effect in which activating one device triggers the next device in the sequence.
If you ever hear anyone say, “that’s quite a Rube Goldberg thing you’ve got going there,” you’re probably violating the KISS principle. KISS is, of course, an acronym for “keep it simple, stupid.”