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.

6 thoughts on “MacGyver Challenge: Teenage Wasteland!

  1. David Maynor says:

    Poke a while in the water heater and work on your surprised face. It must be those hackers attacking critical infrastructure.

  2. sparklyballs says:

    siphon the water out with the garden hose from the garage to the garden via the small window.
    take the rake and duct tape two of the cookie sheets to the tines and push the water towards the hose end to siphon as much as possible out.
    rip up the wet carpets and replace them with the ones from your bedroom.
    take the wet carpets outside and squirt ketchup all over them , make up some story that you spilt the ketchup, got carried away trying to clean it up and made it worse, so you thought it would be a good idea to hose the carpets down outside.
    when that wasn’t working you replaced them with the carpets from your bedroom, using the kitchen knives to cut them to fit.
    anything is better than admitting you had a party.

  3. Christopher Koveleski says:

    There are two drawers. Take them out. Granted that the basement window is higher than the ground outside ( you did not say .. some are some not … my home is ) … chip a hole in tbe corner of one drawer .. enough to fit the garden hose ( cut hose long enough to get outside away from window ) and use whatever u can to attach tbe drawer to the ceiling next to the basement window. Keep the hose slightly angled from horizontal .. as the drawer will drain out the hose, out the window, and into the yard. Use the other drawer as a bucket to fill the “Drain” drawer. Do this quickly cause u will be bailing the water out for hours. Maybe a step to get higher / closer to the drain drawer would help:. When done bailing .. see if u can rip the washing machine drain hose up .. or thereabout so u can blame the washer for the wet basement. Put the hose out in the yard where the water drained and make it oook like the access water is from the hose. You will never get all the water out so preempt the arrival of your parents with a phone call to say u had a problem .. maybe fell asleep when doing the wash. Maybe tape uo the washer hose so u can tell the u think u rixed it and “we” were all lucky it wasnt worse. Call your friends amd tell them to keep their mouths shut or their basement is next.

  4. Paul Schnieder says:

    Attach the garden hose to the water inlet to the water heater. Use duct tape if necessary to make the fitting work. Turn on all upstairs showers hot (standard drains open). The hose is now a vacuum which you can suck up all the downstairs water. Use towels to soak up the remaining water. Pickup all party carnage and deposit in friends garbage bin. Open that window and try and get as much airflow through the room as possible. If necessary admit to overflowing one of the bathrooms which did let out some water to explain the damp air.

  5. Craig Robson says:

    Assuming that the water mains are still running:
    – take the top off the sauce bottle,
    – cut the hose in two,
    – tape each hose to each end of the sauce cap,
    – connect the wide end hose to a tap,
    – run the narrow end hose to outside,
    – submerge the cap, and turn on the tap.
    Venturi pump.

  6. Chuck B says:

    You create a water pump using the following materials. Turkey baster, top of ketchup bottle, 2 marbles, plastic straws, duct tape, garden hose, paper clips. Use the knife as necessary to cut the tape and make any needed tiny holes. Use rubber bands as necessary to keep the paper clips in place.

    Run the garden hose through the basement window and down to the floor. Two check valves are needed.

    The first check valve: Using duct tape, attach the top of the ketchup bottle at the top end of the garden hose with the small end pointing into the hose. Place a marble into the ketchup bottle top and stick paper clips through it from side to side to prevent the marble from being flushed out.

    Remove the squeeze-bulb part of the turkey baster. Using duct tape, attach several plastic straws to the small end of the baster. These straws will form the pickup part of the pump.

    The second check valve: Insert one marble into the baster to create a check valve.

    Slide the big end of the baster into the hose. (OR, if the baster is much larger than the hose, insert the hose into the baster.) Use duct tape, as necessary, to build up the diameter of the smaller one so that it fits snuggly in the larger one. To work the pump, push the baster and hose together to pump a baster-size amount of water into the hose. Reverse the action to refill that baster with water. Repeat until the water is too low to pump. Attached a cookie sheet to one end of the shovel so form a large “fan”. Fan what’s left of the water to accelerate the evaporation.

    When the floor is finally dry, treat yourself of a soda from the fridge.

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