Tuesday, May 10, 2011
Today hundreds of people in Manitoba are frantically filling sandbags by hand while a perfectly good sandbag making machine stands idle nearby.
Maybe I shouldn’t call it “perfectly good.” If it were “perfectly good,” it would be working, saving a crapload of very critical time, time that could be better spent by the volunteers actually stacking those crucial sandbags to protect hearth and home. So why isn’t the machine in operation? It didn’t break down. Nope, nothing so prosaic. The problem is the sand is too wet. The machine won’t work when the sand is wet.
But this is a machine designed to do a single thing: fill sandbags. When do you need sandbags? Unless you’re preparing to repel a Normandy invasion, you need them when it floods. What causes floods? Generally speaking, water. Which makes sand wet. Which means the machine won’t work.
I feel like John Cleese here. I mean, honestly! What good is a machine that sits around day after day and when you actually want it, when you really need it, the bloody thing doesn’t work?
Was this wonder of modern technology field tested in the Sahara? Does it really take a genius to think that there might be wet sand during sandbag filling time? Talk about a useless design. What’s next? An ice-breaker that doesn’t work in the cold? Umbrellas made of sugar? Flammable pots? A lawn mower allergic to grass clippings? Come on, guys, a little thought here, please.
My sympathies go out to the poor people trying like mad to stave off the floodwaters. I cannot imagine just how frustrated I would feel to know that my job could be made infinitely easier by the expensive piece of equipment at my elbow, if only it hadn’t been designed in an isolation booth somewhere by Wile E. Coyote and Acme Industries.