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How To Beat Up Rube Goldberg

Hello! I’m a guy wrote a book about beating things up. It’s called Punching Tom Hanks. My old friend Chris Hardwick was kind enough to let me post some brand new (not in the book) how-to-beat-ups here at Nerdist headquarters. I hope you enjoy them and find them helpful on your journeys.

How To Beat Up Rube Goldberg

Beating up Rube Goldberg himself is no problem at all. One would hardly need a guide to handle that job. He’s an average man – no match for one such as you, who possesses an essay such as this. The tricky part is actually getting to him. To do so you have to bypass one of his legendary Rube Goldberg Machines. Machines so cluttered, overly-complicated and packed with unnecessary bells and whistles you’ll check to see if it was actually made by… Shit, not sure I have the nerd knowledge to make this joke. Dell? AT&T? Anyway…

Walk up to Rube Goldberg’s  house. You’ll see what appears to be an ordinary doorbell near the door. DO NOT PUSH IT. Doing so would set off a chain of events that ends with a giant metal cage dropping down and trapping you. Take a step back, then run forward and kick the door as hard as you can. The door will fly open like it’s made of cardboard, if you’re Lee Majors. Everyone else, your kick will have no effect, but keep kicking anyway. It’s going to take like twenty or so more kicks. Just keep kicking.  Eventually, the door frame will crack, allowing the lock to dislodge and the door to slide out of the way of you and your throbbing leg. It won’t be nearly as satisfying as you’d hoped and, honestly, that foot may be broken. Suck it up.

Once inside, you’ll see a lever embedded in a small metal box, next to a sign saying “Pull Lever.” Whatever you do, DO NOT PULL THIS LEVER. Look closely. Do you see the wire running from the box, across the floor, up the wall to that giant electric fan rigged with feathers doused with poison in front of it? That lever would’ve sealed your fate… and made a huge mess on the floor, both from your dead body and all those poison feathers. (The poison makes them extra sticky)

Look to your left. You’ll see a marble making its way along a looping metal track. In your haste to get away from the box with the lever, you’ve stepped on a pressure-activated plate that sent the marble on its course. Run to the marble and kick it off the track! Did you miss, or not get there in time? Then make sure you catch the sandbag now hurtling towards the end of that seesaw! Miss that, too? Then you must catch that monkey now scrambling across the floor, the monkey who just had his cage door opened by the hurtling bowling ball that was on the other end of the seesaw. If by some act of incompetence you are unable to catch the monkey, you have no more options and may as well stand there awaiting your doom.

Well… I guess you could try to stop the dominoes from knocking that egg into that pitcher of water which fills the bowl that falls off the table sending the skateboard across the room where it activates the boot-on-a-stick that kicks the flint which lights the fuse on the dynamite stick ready to blow you straight to hell. Actually, fuck all that, just walk the five feet over to the dynamite stick and take it out of the machine.

Well done! You’re nearly there. That sound you hear is the door behind you opening. Those words you hear — “Turn around slowly” — that’s Rube Goldberg telling you to “Turn around slowly.” You have one last Rube Goldberg Machine to best. It is the most deadly of the Rube Goldberg machines, by about a thousand. When he pulls that metal trigger with his finger, a tiny hammer will swing down and hit a firing pin inside the end of a “bullet.” That bullet will then explode, sending a hunk of lead inside it hurtling down a metal barrel and then across the room. You must move before the lead hits its target, your body. Be warned: This device is many, many times faster than any skateboard or rolling golf ball. In fact, just move now. Don’t wait for him to pull the trigger or even bother to finish reading this. Just run up to Rube and punch him in the neck until he drops. I’ll stop this entry here, as by now you’ve either beaten Rube, or you haven’t.


Kevin Seccia’s book is available for pre-order here: You can follow him on twitter @KevinSeccia


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  1. JR says:

    Sometimes, violent criminals with body armor or pumped up on drugs need to be shot in the head.

  2. Brandon says:

    Wouldn’t firearms be way more fun is Rube Goldberg had invented them. Also, due to their complexity maybe there would be less shooting ppl in the head? Awesome.

  3. Kevin Seccia says:

    Thanks, Tracy!

  4. Tracy says:

    That was a very entertaining write-up, by the way. It made me smile.

  5. Tracy says:

    See now, I would have thought for sure that the plan would involved a shovel and lots of digging.