Monday, August 20, 2012

The devil did it.

The classical images of the devil are always of an ugly horned brute that uses his pitchfork to herd hordes of shabbily dressed sinners into flaming lakes of lard. I think it's time to forget that image, and face up to reality.

Today's devil is obviously a smart, suave, and urbane gentleman who no longer works in some dirty subterranean cavern. I mean he's been doing his job for a long time, and punishing uneducated medieval serfs, is neither satisfying, or challenging. The world today offers so many creature comforts. So as they say, I think he has moved on up to the east side to that deluxe apartment in the sky. So instead of poking miscreants with pointy things, what does the modern devil really do day to day?

Why the answer is easy. He invents, and designs products that vex all of us. Where do you think things like derivative funds, technical support call centers, Windows Vista, Farmville, Santa Dreidels, and boat designs all come from?

I know all of this because I see his subtle, and creative handiwork almost every day, and this job is one of them.

I was sucker punched. A dealer requested visit to look into a client's autopilot problem turned into a "Oh while you're there, could you change out these batteries for us?"

This forsaken place by design doesn't look bad at a first glance, but it's hellishly hot, and impossibly cramped. This is the inside of a center console boat. The autopilot pump, and the batteries are under a ledge that is about 18" high. To the left of the picture is a less than pristine head. To the right is a set of steps  welded to an aluminum pole.

The only way you can get to the batteries is to lay down on your right side in a fetal position folded around the head. This basically leaves you with one hand, and briefly two, whilst experiencing some notable physical distress. At the time the picture was taken, it had taken me about 45 minutes to change out the first battery. I had to leave the boat, and use a hose to cool down my head, and drink a quart of water. The next batteries took about a half an hour each, with a break in between from laying in an ever deepening puddle of my own sweat. I was over heated, soaked, angry, and ready to kick the designer into next week. I'm not doing this anymore.

"Kobal, did you orchestrate that center console design?" "Yes your most putrid." "Ah Kobal, it's your most putrescent now, we're not living in a cave anymore. Anyway really good work, we almost got that one. And quit buying those awful ties at the Dollar store, it's an embarrassment to our profession."


  1. Is the engineer to blame or the guy that orders every option and the kitchen sink? This post reminds me of my uncle; always complaining about those "engineers", but he never called me the Devil. I still enjoyed the post Bill.

  2. If you really want to see the Devil's hands at work you should try working on a Wellcraft 270 Coastal. It's impossible to maintain never mind change out much of the essential hardware!


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