The Taming of the Screw

Work.  It’s hard sometimes.  But it doesn’t have to be.  For thousands of years, the evolution of human kind has rested on the premise that work can be made easier.  We devised simple machines like the wheel and the inclined plane.  Then we combined those machines, producing the screw.  We use screws to hold our lives together — they are ubiquitous in our houses, cars, and electronics.  The screw concept allows us to harness energy from wind and water and fire, and digs our footings into the Earth.  The amount of machinery, of both the simple and complex variety, utilized on a daily basis to manage the logistics of our existence is staggering.

An Inclined plane

And yet we scurry along at some task, like an ant struggling with quarry that is by comparison gargantuan.  An ant that could use a lever, or a wheel, or a tiny 4×4 vehicle with heavy gear ratios and a pneumatic winch on the forward tube-style bumper.  Or maybe just a hand from a friend.  I digress.  The point is that our species of animal has made an existence out of harnessing mechanical advantage, but oftentimes our expectation of productivity is people working hard, running around, sweating profusely, performing great feats of strength, and just generally moving fast.

A Friend Scurries

Speed is not always productive.  A moment of thoughtfulness can save countless moments of struggle.  The mind is a mechanism which can heft great weights, when applied properly.    I worked a while for a company that valued speed over quality.  The owner of the company complained that I worked too slow.  But the work I accomplished rarely needed to be fixed or redone.  This was not the case for the company in general.

Cedar at Work

Cedar is a hunting dog.  As per usual with sporting dogs, he is endowed with an enormous amount of energy and spirit.  Luckily for me, he expresses considerable restraint when not able to unleash this energy.  But when we go out hunting, or just romping around, he spends the first hour or two running around like a screwball.  A screwball is an overwrought complex machine, made by combining the wheel and inclined plane, and then adding 360 more wheels.  It is, essentially, useless, and somewhat unpleasant to touch.   But after Cedar has worked his spaz out, he begins to use his head, covering ground effectively and following scent out to the origin.  It is controlled, thoughtful work, and thus exponentially more productive.

This entry was posted in Minor Drivel, True Stories Of, Vaguely Lucid, Work and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

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