You should never, ever, allow somebody you don’t know to build something for you where your safety is actually up for grabs. Invariably, when you are not looking, they will flub the job just enough to send you to an emergency medical establishment, where their uncles work and will pay them a handsome fee for sending you their way. This is a fact. Every year, the Coalition for People Who Build Unsafe Things for Other People gets together and figures out to what extent their unsafedness should be carried. You don’t read about this, but it’s true.
GUY 1: Okay, this year we need to make people more unsafe with our products and services. I move that we shoot for a quota of a great number of nasty maimings so my uncle Hank will keep making payments on my pet mongoose. I know that’s an ambiguous quota but what am I, a Stanford graduate?
GUY 2: (Reading spreadsheet) In my region, I can see to it that most of what I build is dysfunctional and very unsafe. About eighty percent, maybe.
GUY 3 (arriving late and bleeding profusely): Sorry I’m late, everyone. The plane I flew in on broke into thirds while we were landing, which I found to be rather unsafe, and I was the only one who made it. I would have been a goner, too, if a suitcase didn’t break my fall. Those suitcases are pretty safe.
GUY 2 (angered): Who’s in charge of suitcases?
ALL (in unison): Buford.
GUY 2: Sack him. No way a suitcase should get in the way of some good unsafety.
And that’s how the agenda for Unsafe Things comes about every year. No joke.
From Personal Experience
Years ago, I experienced an Unsafe Product when I had a race mountain bike built for me by a number of the members of the Coalition. Of course, when I asked them to build it for me, I had no idea that they were borderline criminals and had every intention of eventually sending me to an emergency medical establishment in a large jar. But they stuck to their deranged agenda and did their horrid deeds without my knowing, using a mechanical prowess intentionally no greater than that of your average frog.
When I came in to pick up my completed bike, it looked as good and as solid as any other bike. I paid them real cash money, gave things a quick once over, and went on my way.
Two hours later, my good, safe, buddy Jim and I were at a not-so-local mountain bike trail, and I was a little more than excited to be riding my new, soon-to-be-discovered-unsafe race bike. While Jim was getting his bike out of his Amigo (remember those?), I glibly told Jim I was going to take a warm-up spin around the parking lot. I mounted my bike, clipped into the pedals, and began to accelerate down the length of the parking lot. After about five full pedal rotations, the back wheel on my bike, which really isn’t that important if you happen to enjoy having your nose ground down to roughly the width of a business card on the asphalt, decided that it wanted to fall off. So the back wheel did, in fact, fall off, and I was rudely launched over my handlebars onto my two front teeth in front of many, many, onlookers, all of whom had rear tires on their bikes.
Many of these benevolent onlookers rushed to my aid, most of whom were pointing at my clearly unattached back tire and spraying bike lube, olive oil, and many other safe fluids all over it. After ascertaining that I was okay, one onlooker in particular asked me what kind of jerk put my bike together in the first place. I told him the name of the shop that did the assembly, and he laughed a mighty laugh and said, with great conviction, “Those guys over there are a bunch of baboons!” With that, he helped me get my still-unsafe bike back in Jim’s Amigo, and went on his own merry, safe, way.
After that incident, I made it a point to try and find the sources of this growing epidemic of unsafeness. While I cannot identify nearly all of them, I have determined, beyond any shadow of a doubt, that it cannot be tamed. Sorry for the disappointing conclusion. This story’s got to end somehow, right?
Here are some links for you to click and enjoy my overdue Steve Jobs-fest, which I know you’ve been anticipating. Dig in.
How Steve Jobs is similar to famed architect Norman Foster.
Steve Jobs’ best quotes.
The Onion on Apple CEO Tim Cook’s new strategic vision: I’m Thinking Printers.
Holding the Door: a story about Steve Jobs, told by an Apple employee. Awesome.
Enjoy the long weekend, everyone.
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