I am always right most of the time
2nd of March, 2014 · Comments
One of my favorite things is telling people what to do. I’m qualified to do that because I’m always right about everything, except sometimes when I’m not.
I got called on that particular line of crap a day or two ago, and got to tell an excellent story about screwing up, which I will tell you now. Gather ’round.
When I got hired at my job at the glow stick warehouse, the warehouse was in shambles. There were cases of products not so much stacked haphazardly as dumped haphazardly sorta kinda anywhere. The work tables were nothing more than table tops laid across stacked cases of defective glow sticks.
This is fine as a temporary solution, but it’s horrible as a long term solution. It’s also dehumanizing: “here’s your stack of garbage to work on. Get to it.” Build effing tables. Do it. You’re better than this.
So sayeth the Creig.
I went online and found a work bench design that made sense. I drew it out with dimensions and a list of pieces I’d need. I found a bucket of screws in the warehouse. I snagged tools from the other warehouse. I charged the batteries. I bought a drill bit. I cut wood. I paused to ship some glow sticks and make some coffee. I screwed it all together.
I screwed it up.
Man, that irritated me. I designed it wrong. I built it sturdy and well, but the 2x4s on the side should be on the outside of the long 2x4s that are front and back. The result is that it was too long and too short.
So I had to take it all apart and put it back together again.
It was an easy mistake to make. I designed the table wrong, but put it together right. It just happens that right wasn’t right because I designed it wrong like a genius. Hear me and evolve.
But that’s ok because I was on the clock. Previous employees took table building time to practice their knife throwing skills which is way less good in the practical world. “Can accurately throw knife into cardboard box at distance of seven feet” is a worthless resume item. But bench building is building, and it’s a skill I can take anywhere to make benches with. I could totally go to your house and build a work bench now. You’d be all bummed out because you didn’t ask for it and now you can’t park your car, but I could totally do it.
Additionally, I just like working with wood. I’m poor, so can’t really afford make mistakes with my own supplies. So practicing with the boss’s materials while upgrading the warehouse is a win-win! If there’s a downside, it’s that I am no better at throwing knives than I was before I built tables.
Now, I understand that practice makes perfect. You can tell because of how good I am at being funny. Ten thousand hours, baby. I decided I’d build another table, but I’d do it right this time. I drew better plans. I designed a better table. I cut wood. I screwed it together.
And screwed it up again, FTW. I screwed it up the same way as I screwed up the first one!
I grumbled bejesus about that. I was so careful! How did I do it?
Friend Sarah had sympathy. She went out of her way to make me feel better. She used her kindness skills to say that if she ever needs a table put together wrong, she would call me first. I thought that was nice of her.
It turns out that I simply had a hard time visualizing that first step. So for the third table, I drew yet different plans with instructions: “Start here.” I got my third table right on the first try and it is glorious.1
I want to build fourth table. We don’t need it, but I’m good at it now, and don’t want to waste my valuable and hard-won skills.
• • •
While I’m on the subject of building, I thought I’d share another project we did at work.
The boss has a lot of stuff he won’t get rid of. He should donate it or throw it away, but instead we store it in the warehouse until the mice eat it or pee on it or both.2 He keeps bringing stuff, and we keep having to store it, and we’re running out of room.
Another problem is we had a haphazard stack of shipping pallets taking up valuable space. So we put the two problems together. We made shelving out of pallets and put the boss’s stuff on top of it.
Two normal pallets on the bottom as legs, one super long pallet on top as the top. Then we did it again, to have a double-decker. A piece of crap plywood on the side for aesthetics3 and we’re set:
All those boxes on the left are full of defective products that we don’t recycle because we save it instead.
Anyway, the pallet shelf is super cheap and super sturdy, and not the tinniest bit ghetto at all. But when there’s no budget for shelving or for extra trash dumps to get rid of the pallets, well, it’s not so bad. I may employ this in the future when I need giant shelves for some reason.
The pallet shelving was a Creig-original idea. So I was right again. I’d say it’s hard begin right all the time, but it’s not. It comes naturally. Except when it doesn’t.