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Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Real Men don't Cry!

Have you ever done something in the field that you really wish you hadn't? I remember a fellow engineer who was much wiser say to me one day, "If it isn't broke don't fix it!" Well I think we all learnt that lesson the hard way. Everything is running fine on the helicopter and one night you decided to set the swashplate friction on a 206 and what started out as a simple job turns into a nightmare. You took all the necessary precautions and put all the bolts in your plastic jar and then just when life was going just fine you accidentally hit the jar and all the bolts go flying into the grass. That doesn't sound like a big problem except that it's raining outside and it 2:00 in the morning and your flash batteries are hovering on the point of failure. In typical fashion you find all the bolts except for one, so there you are on you hands and knees desperately searching for that final bolt. What's going through you head at this point? For those who may be religious perhaps a prayer to Saint Anthony, the patron Saint of lost objects may be a good idea. For some, a round of good old fashion cusing may be appropriate. Whatever the method of use, it all boils down to one thing! Are you going to Crack! Are going to break down and start crying like a child off the breast? Well I can tell you from expierence that there were times when I sure could of used a breast for good old fashion concilation. "Mommy." How did I keep it together when the times were tough and I really felt like throwing in the towel?

It all started when I was in college in 1979. We were all tasked with assembling a high pressure hose for shop class. We all got our hoses and fittings from the tool crib and began our assembly. I remember how people were cursing trying to get there fittings on their hoses but mine mysteriously when on with no effort, obviously I had the gift. After our assembly it was time to pressure test our lines. Our instructor, Mr. Chambers, was present to ensure everything when off without a hitch. All was fine until it was my turn to test my hose. I watched the pressure build until around 100 psi the thing began to spray like there was no tomorrow. What was going on? Somebody must have switch my hose. My instructor looked at the hose and told me that I had a low pressure hose instead of a high pressure hose. It wasn't my fault, the tool crib gave me the wrong hose! Mr. Chambers then said,"You should of known better" and then I said, "fine" and proceeded to leave the building. He asked me where I was going and I told him that I had had enough of today thank you. Then came his famous reply," So when your in the field and something goes wrong, are you going to go home?" That hit me like a brick! What can you say to something like that? So I put my tail between my legs and did an about face and went and got my steel braided line and curse because it was a pain, and install the fittings. Looking back it was a good lesson learnt. So when things get tuff out there and I'm about to start crying, those legiondary words ring out like the Liberty Bell and I see my old instructor in my minds eye. "Are you going to go home?"

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