I don’t know about you, but given a choice between putting my ignorance on display or sidestepping issues, my temptation has been to lean toward the latter. It’s what I refer to as my Mach-Zero (out of airspeed) tendency that has on occasion allowed me to cry out, “Lord, I don’t mind dying, only don’t let me look stupid in the process.”
Nor did this lunacy go away after I retired from combat flying. Indeed it got a whole new lease on life when I was surveying a piece of land I had bought while I was in the service. This 2,000-acre piece of desolate scrub brush, coyote fodder, and lava rock formations sat about as far from anywhere you can imagine, but I was bound and determined at least to find out where it was if not to increase its value from the $50-per-acre price I had paid for it.
The year was 1970, well after I had heard from others about the wonders of lasers, yet there I was out there in some of the most forbidding territory, setting up a transit, dragging chain, and pounding tons of intermediate stakes, probably with less precision than if I had used a divining rod to find the corners. “But what the heck,” I humored myself, “my blisters, bruises, and insect bites show good faith on my part—and besides, lasers are dangerous.
“Moreover they’re expensive,” I pressed on with the litany of excuses to justify trudging up and down hills, whacking away at brush, in order to come up with numbers rarely consistent with those from before.
The truth was I didn’t understand lasers, how they worked, what made them superior to the way I was doing things, why they could make my life a lot easier, and most of all how they could make me a lot more productive. So rather than take the time to gain an understanding, I pressed on in glorious ignorance…a sort of “I’ll show them” attitude that, while it didn’t make me more productive, at least made me feel better. Of course, I could have waited a decade or so and made use of GPS, but that wasn’t on my horizon at the time.
Well, it’s this kind of thinking Grading & Excavation Contractor—and most especially our upcoming June Technology issue—is hoping to dispel.