So we've been talking a lot lately about evolution. At the risk of rolling eyes and heavy sighs, I thought it might be entertaining to relate a story to you that might evidence my own status at the peak of biological development here on earth.
Way, way back in the annals of history, just after high school, I worked at an electrical supply company where I sold to electrical contractors as well as layfolk all kinds of electrical stuff, from light bulbs to breaker panels, wire and cable, electrical conduit and lighting fixtures.
On one particular day I was getting a length of large-gauge cable for a customer. My memory suggests that it what they call "6/3 BX", which is an armored cable, as shown below, the size of a small child's wrist, and is covered by a flexible metal sheath.
Heavy and tough to cut, we typically used a large pair of cutters that looked for all the world like pruning shears. Problem was, at this particular time, the cutter was old and well worn, and as anyone who's used a pair of old, dull scissors knows, the item you are trying to cut may (instead of cutting like a good little doo-bee), kind of flex and slide between the two halves of the scissors and be a real pain. This is what was happening to me: the cutter was so dull and loose that the last little bit of the metal sheathing was just going between the two jaws of the cutter, and I couldn't complete the cut quite right.
It was clear to me that what I needed to do was to align the sheath in the jaws "just so", so that it would cut at last. I took some fair care in lining that cut up, sighting down from above the cutting jaws to see with great clarity that stubborn bit of metal between the jaws of the cutter, and gave a quick, sharp thrust of the handles, hoping that the sudden shot would help to convince the cutter to go through the last shred of cladding.
What really happened, though, was that the two handles smacked me in the head, one on either temple, and I saw stars, and the cable did not cut.
And that's exactly how evolved I am.
- I'm a life-long New Englander, father of 4 challenging kids (I know: I'm supposed to say "wonderful", but while that'd be true, technically speaking, it'd also be misleading), and fortunate husband to my favorite wife of more than 20 years. I've got over 20 years experience breaking things as a test engineer, quality engineer, reliability engineer, and most recently (and most enjoyably) a Product Safety / EMC Compliance Engineer. In the photo, I'm on the left.