Monday, July 23, 2012

Fawlty* Advice

Way, way back when I was a directionless teenager spending hours upon hours locked in my room teaching myself how to program a computer (a Radio Shack TRS-80 Model I - the first in the entire city of Cincinnati), the CEO thought he might get me interested in more career-worthy pursuits. One of these, I believe, was the venerable farm veterinarian. Or not, but it makes for a better story a little later, so let's just agree to stipulate that it is for that reason that I found my self reading the All Creatures books written by the talented British author James Herriot.

If, in fact, the hidden agenda behind the CEO's recommendation of these books was to encourage me to work towards a veterinary degree, well, it was a horribly implemented plan. You see, these books are chock full of not-so-enticing stories of being awakened in the middle of a frigid winter night in order to drive out into the cold, dark country to perform the unenviable task of pushing a prolapsed uterus back into the rear end of a ewe.

'Ewe', by the way, is pronounced 'Ewwwwww!' in this context.

There was another oft-delivered piece of parental wisdom back in the day, which came in many forms but ultimately distilled down to "Stay in school!" Various forms were brought to bear: "Stay in school so you don't end up sweeping floors," or "Stay in school so you don't end up as a dishwasher somewhere." Naturally, I didn't take that advice and dropped out of college after my freshman year having decided, correctly as it turned out, that I needed some time in the real world. I enlisted in the Air Force where I spent five years working on airplanes, the most notable of which was the SR-71 Blackbird.

I never once had to do dishes.

Once I separated from the military, I put myself through college and ended up with a Bachelor of Engineering in the specialty of Computer Science. I parlayed that education and my long-held interest in computers and programming into a series of programming jobs, a couple of Vice President positions at small companies, and eventually ended up where I am today as an IT Director for a Fortune 13 corporation.

Here's the irony.

This is what meets me when I get to work at 5:45 am each day:

Granted, it's not my responsibility to clean that mess up every morning, but if I don't do it one of the ladies from our Operations department will have to do it. The rumors of Chivalry's death are greatly exaggerated.

So, what about that prolapsed uterus? Where does that come in?

Well, today I decided to brave the 91 degree evening temperatures and go out to the hangar to do a little work on the airplane. Having wasted my entire Saturday work session on those cotter pins, I wanted to get out there and see if I could accomplish what I had been unable to do on Saturday. Namely, I wanted to see if I could get the cooling duct fitted into place.

It is this that reminded me of Dr. Herriot.

Frankly, Herriot was a piker. This cooling duct does not appear to be in any way affiliated with the lower cowl. I looked over and over to see where Pete had missed the scribe line that would have halved the size of this thing. Eventually, though, I managed to shoe-horn it in there.

Now there's all kinds of fitting to be done, and that kind of thing goes much better with help. It will wait.

* Yes, I know it's 'Faulty' - it's an inside joke.

1 comment:

Jeff said...

Dave hello from Canada
I have really been enjoying your blog lately. I have to say,nice Mercedes. Is it possible that you will be using the car's colour scheme on the new airplane.

Keep up the good work

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