Thursday, October 05, 2006
Taking Home Company Pencils and...
Back in the 1950’s corporate life more closely resembled the ideal “one big happy family” than later when computers largely replaced face-to-face communications. Personalities played a bigger role and, perhaps, more real friendships were formed. At least, I will use that as my excuse for the favors that were traded back and forth between departments. For instance, my section had lots of product where the packages were opened, but only a dollop of product removed for testing. There was no accountability and that product found its way home in many a briefcase. I once asked the engineers to make me a little dolly that a two-draw file could ride on. I got a lot of phone inquiries and I could pull the file over close when on the phone – and push it away when I needed the floor space. Now visualize me involved in a diligent search with the file more or less between my legs, feet close together – sole to sole. Now visualize me pulling the top drawer all the way out and the whole business tipping forward and the bottom drawer sliding out and slicing both my ankles. Next, picture my secretary driving me home and then to my doctor’s for stitches in both ankles.
After that adventure I established that I was not a fast learner. We had purchased a new home and the lawn had been seeded after we moved in. It was a hot summer and it was a struggle to get that seed growing into a lush lawn. It took lots of expensive watering to achieve that objective. The next summer it continued to drink water at an embarrassing rate. It was then my mouse trap mind snapped. There was a beautiful little creek that ran by the back and side of our property. Its babbling was a delight to go to sleep to, but all that “free” water was just running down to where ever water runs down to from New Jersey hills. I hustled into the engineers and described my idea. Within a week I had a small pump complete with electric motor delivered to the house. Whee! showers of free (almost, water cost more per hour than electricity) water poured onto my thirsty lawn.
Again, my calculations had missed a crucial item. Where did that pretty creek flow before it got to my house? To this day I’m not sure, but it was certainly polluted! . The lush lawn turned brown and never, as long as we lived there, did it regain its pre-pump glory.
The pump did come in handy years later. Our beautiful babbling brook became a raging river during a torrential summer storm. Thr river missed a turn and its course was diverted to one that took it in our back door and out the front door. But that is another story.