Thursday, December 28, 2006

Engineering 101

182 Engineering 101

High winds and the door blows open. It’s a new door. Modern. It has a knob and a lock. But in the high wind, it still blows open.

Fifty feet away, and 50 feet higher, near the top of a maple tree, a squirrel has a nest. He (or she) started building it at about the time the door was installed. He did not go to Lowe’s or Home Despot for parts. He did not have it professional installed by a Talented Team of Professional Crafts-people. (Awful, awkward term, “crafts-people,” but these days…)

What he did was forage around for twigs and sticks and dry leaves and built the thing himself. And when the wind blows and the maples sway, the nest…. stays right there and sways along with the treetop.

The door does not blow open. The furniture does not get thrown around. The nest just stays there. Maybe a few twigs fall off. If so, Forage The Squirrel runs up and down the tree a few times and fixes his house.

Door-O-Rama has spent tens of millions of dollars designing and building doors.

Forage The Squirrel has spent nothing. Doesn’t even know what money is. Doesn’t even know what doors are. But he can build a whole nest that withstands the worst wind and rain (and probably snow) and doesn’t have to call customer service to get the thing fixed when it doesn’t work right.

So from this, we determine that squirrels are better engineers than humans. And now we have to figure out a way to hire them to build our houses, factories, barns, bridges and roads.

This, of course, will lead to two probable events:

First, our houses, factories, barns, bridges and roads will improve in a geometric progression.

Second, some enterprising beavers will figure out that they build dams better than humans can, and if they can do that – why not build other things, too. Like factories, barns, bridges and roads. Hence, competition. Very American.

Someone tip off the buyout companies. Kohlberg-Kravis-Squirrel & Beaver has a nice ring to it.

But this is not without problems. Forage has backdated the nut options for his crew. And he doesn’t pay a phone bill. He just sits on the poll, chews up the insulation and makes calls for free. These legal difficulties may delay the acquisition.

But it’s still a good idea. You never hear about rebates or zero percent financing when squirrels are in charge. You never hear about plant closings or pension defaults. They just build and scurry around chasing each other.

Their stuff lasts. Their guarantees are iron clad – no small print.

And talk about low prices? These guys work for peanuts. Acorns. Beijing, eat your heart out.

I'm Wes Richards, my opinions are my own, but you're welcome to them.

(c) 2006 WJR

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