3D Printers

We have been sick at our house for what seems like forever. The normal winter viruses hit hard on the first day of spring, and they haven’t stopped.

C has spent the spring struggling with bronchitis, pneumonia, bronchitis, etc. It’s a nasty cycle, and with the number of viruses that have gotten him, it just keeps cycling. The rest of us have been cycling in and out, so there are generally two of us sick at any given time. Enough already.

Meanwhile, W has spent the spring talking about 3D printers. He wants one. Badly. He also has enough money saved up to buy one. The kid doesn’t even have a job, but somehow, he has collected enough money in his bank account to pay for a 3D printer. A friend of his has the one he wants, so he knows how it prints pretty well.

Every chance he gets, he talks about 3D printers. At dinner: “If I had a 3D printer….” At breakfast: “Do you know what I could do with a 3D printer?” After school: “I could print you one… if I had a 3D printer.” While I’m cooking: “So, I was reading about 3D printers….”

After awhile, I just go with it. Whatever comes out, I fly. “So, this 3D printer I want…” he starts in for the gazillionth time.

“Did you know you could make body parts with a 3D printer?” I respond, without missing a beat. “You can print heart valves and ears. They are even using them to make affordable prosthetic limbs. You could go into business. I’ll bet you could make a lot of money!”

He looked at me, speechless for just a split second. I had stopped him in his tracks. He shook his head. “Not with the one I’m getting.” He paused to breathe, as he does when he is trying to shift the direction of the conversation.

“Really…” I jumped in before he had time to start his new direction. “If you could figure that out, it would be great. Think about all the people you could help!”

“Mom. Stop.” A bit of frustration was evident in his tone. “Those printers cost thousands of dollars. Mine won’t do that.”

“I KNOW!!” I said, an idea taking shape in my head. “You could print a new set of lungs for your brother!! Clearly, he could use them.” I pointed to the coughing, hacking, wheezing (and laughing) C across the table.

“Well…” said W, looking at me and smiling broadly. “If it means I get my 3D printer…. I can figure it out!”

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