The Machine

Describe a significant turning point in your life.

Scrolling through the lines of G-code iterations, I rubbed my eyes as my cursor hovered over the “Run” button on
the monitor. The image of the Arc de Triomphe taunted me. My finger rested on the mouse in anticipation, but the
high stakes furthered my anxiety.

I had toiled endlessly to develop a printing system that would construct three-dimensional objects, ranging from
chess pieces to human ears, using gels instead of plastics. After working out some kinks to my prototype – a high-
resolution 3D-printer whose center was a labyrinth of rainbow-colored wires – I was ready for another test.

I clicked my mouse and retreated, unsure of what to expect. The machine emitted a cacophony of beeps. Gears
clattered. Motors screeched. Sparks and crackles confirmed that something was wrong. My once-confident smile
faded. I knit my eyebrows and reluctantly hit the red “Emergency STOP” button. The machine froze mid-print, and
the lab went silent.

As a boy who yearned for tangible challenges, I gravitated towards LEGOs. I disregarded the sets’ pre-determined
designs, preferring to construct my mind’s fabrications instead. My dogged determination to find the perfect piece
meant spending hours rummaging through my ten-gallon tub. Years later, Zumba posed...

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