MacGyver Challenge: Teenage Wasteland!

Fun & Games Science
MacGyver Challenge: Teenage Wasteland!

Think you could MacGyver your way out of a dangerous situation?  Welcome to Make:’s MacGyver Challenge — solve this emergency scenario in a creative way and your solution could be featured in the next issue of Make: magazine! Submit your answer down below by March 20.

Written by MacGyver TV creator Lee David Zlotoff and his partner in predicaments, Rhett Allain, here’s the new challenge: Teenage Wasteland! Share your best solutions below for a chance to be in the magazine and win some Make: goodies too.

Lee Z wrote the popular MakeShift challenge in Make: magazine from 2005 to 2011. Now we’re bringing Mac back to help you think — and make — your way out of natural disasters, power failures, and other emergencies. There seem to be a lot of them these days. As Lee writes in Make: Volume 82, “We are all MacGyvers now.”


Teenage Wasteland!

By Lee D. Zlotoff and Rhett Allain

The Scenario

You’re 17 years old, living in the suburbs. Your parents have an overnight date in the city, leaving you with clear instructions that you are not to have a party while they’re away. So, no sooner do they leave then you invite a half dozen friends over for, not a party exactly but just, you know… a get together. Which, astonishingly, involves various inebriants in your finished basement cum family room. Mid-way through the festivities the local power goes out driving the party upstairs to the patio outside — unaware that one of your more hammered BFFs has left the water running in the sink with the drain closed. And when you venture back down for more refreshments at 3 a.m. in the morning with a flashlight you discover to your horror there’s a good 2 inches of water flooding the basement! Finally, turning off the faucet, and now curiously sober, you summon your homies who, seeing the flood, all abandon you like rats from a sinking ship.

The Challenge

Now on your own, you realize you have exactly seven hours to get the water out and clean up the mess before your folks return. And the power is still out.

Here’s what you’ve got — and it’s all you’ve got:

  • Normal kitchen stuff. Knives, forks, spoons, but weirdly no bowls or pots. There are cookie sheet pans though. But if it’s in a kitchen drawer, you have it. Spatulas, straws, turkey baster.
  • Of course, there’s the “junk drawer”. You have a battery-powered flashlight, coins, keys, pocketknife, marbles, empty film canisters, AA batteries, rubber bands, paper clips.
  • There’s a nice mixer (again, no power), a toaster oven, air fryer, microwave. The fridge is off — but it has just a bare minimum. There’s a six pack of soda and a squeeze bottle of ketchup.
  • Yes, you have some plastic straws and duct tape.
  • In the garage, it’s just outdoor stuff: Garden hose, sprinklers, shovel, hoe, rake. (There are no gas-powered devices).
  • The basement does have a small window to get out to the ground.
  • The rest of the house just has normal stuff.
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Lee D. Zlotoff

Lee D. Zlotoff is a writer/producer/director among whose numerous credits is creator of MacGyver. He is also president of Custom Image Concepts (

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