Saturday, October 30, 2010


Righto time wasters.

I'm not clumsy, I have pretty good hand-eye coordination, good manual dexterity and my fine motor skills are (currently) at least at par. My fitness in terms of cardio leaves a lot to be desired because I smoke. I don't use gym weightlifting equipment so I can't specify what I bench press in Kg but I'm a big strong bloke who can carry a bale of hay without much trouble. Offshore boat work is like low speed isometrics for the whole shift. After 10 hours I feel like I've walked 15 miles. I'm a plodder not a sprinter and have, can & will work for 14 or 15 hours without much complaint. In short I reckon in terms of physical capacity I'm on the good end of the bell curve.
Conceited as it may be I also think I'm smarterer than the average bear. Perhaps it's not about capacity but how I think or what I think about. I do believe I live a more examined and deliberate life.

What I lack is long term consistency in attention to detail.

I get bored. I reckon I'd be a very poor assembly line worker.

Eventually I'll miss something, overlook a detail, fail to consider the implications of a decision and it turns to custard. I then have a Situation to attend to. I reckon I could compile a two or three page long list of these Situations in my professional & personal life. The most common cause is the classic "Doing something stupid."

I think an example or 2 is in order.
Working on a jet ski in the river. Outgoing tide. I have to chat some clown so instead of spinning down the creek through traffic I direct him onto a convenient sandbank. In the past I have had to drag the ski off the bank as the tide has left it dry, so I now pick a steeply shelving spot & put it onto the bank so I can still get it off easily. Or I could "Do Something Stupid" and have to swim after it. That's professional.

A monthly production meeting at events centre in Brisbane, Item 135 on the agenda (snore): After unacceptably common incidents of damage to walls, lifts and people the big 14ft ladders are now scheduled as a two man lift. It is expressly forbidden to lift, move or carry them solo. The next day I'm, well, Doing something stupid and carrying a 14ft ladder by myself in one of the 3rd floor meeting rooms.
Do you know those little red glass bulb fire extinguishers recessed in the ceiling? If you are in a multistory commercial office there is probably one above you right now. They are remarkably fragile and surprisingly susceptible to ladder related trauma.
In the roof space the events centre has an earthquake fire-tank about half the capacity of a backyard pool so in the event they lose power and water pressure they can still extinguish a fire. I didn't see it myself, but allegedly there was a waterfall cascading down the still running escalator.

The boys I work with give me good natured sh!t about this pretty regularly and my standard response is "If I compiled a list of my best fifty fck-ups this wouldn't make the list."

This has of course stimulated me to think about such a list.
I decided fck-ups should be scored by:
Stake -What did I endanger through my stupidity.
Predictability - in hindsight is it really really obvious it would go pear shaped.
& Novelty - is it a new & exciting way to be stupid, or have you been stupidly doing this all week. (Each out of ten, sum / three)

It's not at all novel to do a U-turn in long grass in a work car. (1)
The stake is the sump of the work car & the rest of the afternoons work. (6)
It is pretty likely that eventually you'll hit something. (7) =14/30 = 4.6/10

It's pretty novel to skurf (ski on a surf board with foot loops) towed behind a four wheel drive on the beach. (7)
At 40 KPH the stake is broken bones & epic abrasion. (5)
Predictability, approaching certainty (9) = 21/30 = 7/10

Intuitively beach skurfing isn't twice as stupid as a U-turn that surprisingly goes wrong, so I think my model needs work.
It can't have a direct co$t factor as doing something stupid that you get away with can be just as stupid as those occasions when it goes tits up and you find yourself being summonsed for "Fail to drive with due care & attention," winched onto a tilt-tray tow truck or 34 sutures in one's foot. Also there is no accurate butcher's bill for when you get away with it, so it's not equally quantifiable. Unlike the grim reality to two decimal places of stupid tax - insurance excess or whatever.

Any advice?



About Me

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I was the proud recipient of the worlds first monkeys ass to human face transplant. Friends of the donor monkey says it took well, I'm not so sure.