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25 Oct 06
The Wasp Project
I remember elementary school in Gerby, where the teachers set up the Wasp Project. The idea was to teach us kids a lesson in entrepreneurship. The method, however, cannot be described as easily. It was a rather complicated scheme, where the town of Vasa bought our manufactured products as promised beforehand, and then gave them away as Christmas presents to its employees.

The school mascot was a wasp. Someone thought that toy wasps that could be magnetically attached to a refrigerator would be the perfect holiday gift for every worn-out nurse.

The creative genius here is indisputable, but it was not an easy task. The body of the wasp was to be made of a certain type of yellow-black striped fabric, stuffed with cotton. The wings were to be made of old pantyhose (of any colour from any mom) and a steel wire (in two different calibers). A piece of this thin nylon fabric was then to be thread over a loop of the thicker wire and then secured with the thinner. The whole wing system was then to be wound around the body, simultaneously creating the division between the thorax and the abdomen that characterises all insects. The head was marked out by another wiring. A pair of plastic eyes were glued to the head. But I've completely forgotten about the antennas.

Anyway, since Vasa employs thousands of people (5756 in 2006, maybe more then), it took quite a while to get them all off the production line. The division of labour was thought out by the management (teachers, of course), who sometimes helped with the wiring and the sowing themselves. I remember some fantastic, sweat shop-styled production figures by a group of girls who sowed the bodies. Some 700 hundred wasp bodies where made that day.

Me and a girl called Maria were class representatives for an interview in the local radio. The principal was also there. I seem to recall that Maria explained the idea behind the project in roughly the following way: “In the future, if there were to be no work opportunities for us, it's important to know that it's possible for anyone to use old pantyhose to create something”.

Back then, I thought it was unnecessary to mention pantyhose to convey the idea, but I certainly didn't realise the full comedy of the situation, the way I cynically do now. I'm glad I didn't.

I'm glad I didn't realise just how degrading it is to manufacture a cross-eyed toy wasp and to have someone to buy it from you, in large quantities, out of pity.

And I'm glad I was excited, not depressed, to see a wasp stuck on a wall at the dentist a few months later. Now, let's bury the 90's.

written by Mattias
Comments:
Haha, kommer ihåg det där, när Vasa stad skickade sånadär getingar åt sina anställda. Kommer ihåg att jag tyckte idén var "sådär". Den finns säkert hos min mamma i Vasa ännu, inte inom synhåll dock.
posted by   ville
Jo, men jag minns också att dom äldsta i skolan fick alltid jobba mest på getingarna. Vi jobbade väl ihop till några datorer (som jag aldrig rörde) eller hur det var. Vi fick göra grovjobbet o aldrig använda datorerna medans de yngre fick ju använda dem resten av skoltiden.
posted by   Jan (farsan)
Ah, det stämmer. Vi jobbade ju ihop till datorer, haha. Jag minns speciellt ett par avlagda, som vi fick köpa från Wärtsilä. De var enormt stora och påminde nu så här i efterhand om World Trade Center. En av dem brann upp innan den startats ens en gång, då någon hade ändrat spänningsreglaget på baksidan från 230 till 110.
posted by   Mattias
hahaha
posted by   monica
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