Pick a Door, Any Door

After World War II, I served as an electrician with a local electrical company in a small town of approximately 10,000. Some of the houses in this area did not have house numbers posted on them because the original numbers had disappeared when the homes were repainted. As a result, our boss would frequently give us an approximate address when assigning our work. He would say something like, “a white house with a little roof over the front steps in the middle of the 600 block on South Garfield.” In those days, very few people locked their homes, and typically no one was home when we performed our work. One day, the boss sent Merle, a master electrician, out to install four new receptacles in one of these homes. As he had done so many times before, he only gave Merle a brief description of the house. About two weeks later, the customer came into the shop and asked the boss if he was now sending out bills before the job was done. “No,” the boss said. “Merle turned in your job sheet right after he finished the job.” The customer quickly added, “Well where did he put the receptacles because I cannot find them.” Come to find out, Merle had installed the four new receptacles in the wrong house.
Kenneth E. Kuhn

An Oldie but Goody

When our town's swimming pool was getting ready to open for the summer, we discovered the chlorine injection flow switch?had rusted out and needed to be replaced. After removing the old one, I realized the paddle that sat in the water stream had completely corroded away. I made a wild guess at which size paddle to use and finished installing the new switch. Although it seemed to be working fine when I left, we got a frantic call the next morning (opening day) that it was not working. I hurried over and found the new switch was not actuated. Certain that I had put in the wrong size paddle, I kept installing larger and larger paddles to try and correct the problem. Finally, one hour before opening,?when I was at my wit's end, one of the pool workers decided to clean the pump strainer, which was completely clogged with grass clippings from last night's mowing — resulting in no flow through the pipes. After this clog was cleared, I installed the original paddle, which worked just fine. I learned a painful lesson from this experience: Always check all indications before jumping to conclusions.
Richard Harrahill

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