Monday, February 23, 2015

PSP - Problem Solving Priest

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a silly piece about wizardry and priests.  In it, I confessed that my understanding of electricity is very limited. If I am honest with myself, my comprehension basically ends with the statement, "there is majick going on here". The end result of that majick, I explained, is that when the majick fails, I have to call in a 'priest' (AKA a car mechanic, electrician, plumber) and make an 'offering' to the 'priest', so that he will 'bless' (repair) whatever it is that is broken.

I live in a land filled with well-paid priests.

This past week, I rode along with my brother Parker on a series of deliveries.  He works at an employee-owned lumber yard, and we were delivering sliding (yes, I know what the real spelling of that word is, but it is INTENTIONALLY misspelled.) And lumber.  And decking.


While we were driving around, I explained my priest-and-majick theory of the universe to him....  not realizing that my driver was a general priest himself.

 Problem Solving Part 1.

We got to the first site, and the forklift on the back of the truck was broken.  Turn the key, it grinds, but does not fire. I shrugged my shoulders
and got ready to unload everything by hand. Parker had other plans.

He shrugged out of his coat, dove into the engine of the forklift and started diagnosing the problem.  "See here?  This solenoid is not working; it is supposed to stay engaged and it just slips back into place.  I think it is the grounding wire that is doing it."

Fifteen minutes of majickal incantations (I did recognize a few of the words he used... "hydraulic fluid", "ruined shirt", and some interesting variations on words that I have only heard in decidedly non-priestly contexts) and he looked up and said, "Give it a shot."  I turned the key.  The motor caught.  He unloaded the materials, put the forklift back, and said,

"They do NOT pay me enough."

And it is true.  The 'priest' that I would have called would have required a 3-hour wait and required a 'love offering' of $300.  Or, I would have unloaded the materials by hand, and cost the company additional time (and gotten us further behind on the deliveries' list.)  His problem-solving cost him a set of ruined clothes and saved the company a lot of money.

Problem Solving Part 2.

Next delivery we make is up to a single-lane windy road in the mountains. Not single lane in each direction.  One lane.  The temperature has not gotten high enough since the snowfall earlier in the week to melt the ice on the road.  25-ton truck.  Icy road.  Mountains.  40-foot drop. 

The suggested solution was to take the truck to the turn-around point and pull the delivery off the truck with the forklift, then take the last 400 yards of the delivery with the forklift. 

Forklift.  Icy road. Mountains. 40-foot drop.  Slick material.

I shrugged my shoulders and got read to unload everything by hand. Parker had other plans.

You know the high school logic test, where you are asked to get the goose, the fox, and the corn across the river in the boat?  Parker did a four-dimensional version of that in his head, and then executed it to perfection. 

Drive the truck up the hill.  Backwards.  Around the curve (I was on the downhill-slope side, so I was looking down that 40-foot drop.)  Over the icy patches.

Drive past the driveway, then pull partially in the drive.  Unload the forklift, pull the truck backwards.  Unload the material (it started to slide out the moment we released the bands) and drive the truck forward, out from under it.  Pull the forklift up the driveway (continually adjusting the approach so as to keep the forks level).  Return the truck to its position, repeat for the opposite side.

Not one slip.  Not one lost piece of decking.  Not one 25-ton truck at the base of the 40-foot cliff.

I (whose nickname when I worked at the store was 'Crash') was seriously impressed. His response was a simple understatement: "OK, I can stop puckering now."

Five more deliveries, five more problem-solving episodes.  Each one needing creativity and outside-the-box thinking to solve.

My brother is a problem-solving priest.  One who more than earns his modest 'offering' every week.

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