Hyrum F. Jones

"Whether you think you can or think you can't, you're right"

-Henry Ford

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Just the other day, at the start of fall semester, I was walking upstairs to my apartment and I saw Hyrum’s apartment door opened. I thought to myself, “Wonderful! Another opportunity to meet new people.”

As I entered into the apartment, I saw Hyrum playing with an old unicycle. He explained to me how it was once his father’s and then proceeded to explain to me the mechanics of riding one. I was enthralled with Hyrum’s enthusiasm.

He wasn’t just enthusiastic about his unicycle, but enthusiastic about everything! It was contagious, I found myself getting excited about everything he was talking about: I even got excited when he talked about physics.

As Hyrum and I conversed, he shared with me some of his life’s ambitions, the grandest being his endeavor to develop a fully functional pneumatic automobile. The story went back to when he was twelve years old, “I was homeschooled, I had more time to do the things I wanted to do. I wanted to create a new type of battery and then it occurred to me that I could use air! I spent my free time researching ideas and using pieces bought from local thrift stores.” Hyrum hasn’t built his car yet, but is focused on doing so. He has an appetite for ingenuity and an appetite for improving the world. He wants to help preserve the environment by mass producing the environmentally friendly vehicle and making it a standard across the globe.

I asked Hyrum where he got his enthusiasm and ambition from; he ascribes it to his parents. He explained how is parents were not strict, “but had high expectations.” He noted, “if we fell below their expectations we knew they would be disappointed; we didn’t want to disappoint them.” He later told me, “I would say I have the best parents.”

Hyrum continued to tell me about his parents and the role models they have been in his life. His father grew up on a cattle ranch where he learned the importance of hard work. Hyrum’s father is always learning new skills and encourages his children to do the same. Hyrum’s mother is “very practical” and taught her children to look at the practical side of things. She is musically talented and has encouraged all of her children to play instruments too. Hyrum plays the banjo, dances, draws, writes rhymes, and is a ventriloquist.

One of the many things that impressed me about Hyrum was when he told me that his role models are found in books. He elaborated by describing the books he reads, “I read lots of biographies of past physicists.” Nicola Tesla is one of Hyrum’s favorites. Tesla is best know for his contributions of modern alternating current electricity supply systems. Other favorites include Michael Faraday and Thomas Edison.

Our conversation then turned towards Hyrum’s life goals. Hyrum’s response made me laugh, “I have a 100 goals list, but I will just tell you a few of them.” He informed me that he wants to do one BIG thing that changes the world—the pneumatic car—and some small things that change the community. He wants to go to random places and perform, whether it is with music, dancing, art or picture books. He then wants people to think, “wow, that made my day.” Hyrum wants to make a soap box and recite Patrick Henry’s speech, “Give me liberty, or give me death!” Hyrum also wants to live to be 122 years old.

In the far future, when Hyrum is 122 years old and looking back on his life, he wants to be known “as someone who was very good to the people around him. Someone who did something for civilization. Someone who never let social norms limit what he did. Someone who always followed his conscience.”

It is always a treat to be in the presence of the enthusiastic Hyrum. His energy is contagious and his happiness is overpowering. We all need people like Hyrum in our lives to encourage us to achieve more.

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