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Saturday, September 18, 2010

Inadequate Tools; Adequate People

It would be interesting to know how many people have felt inadequate at a task when in fact the inadequacy was not of the person but of the tools at hand.  How unskilled, klutzy, incapable, and guilty they must have felt when in fact the problem was not them, but improper tools.  I think of the predicament that doctors have faced through the centuries—with hopelessly inadequate tools existing to treat their patients.  I wonder how many doctors accepted blame and felt guilt for patient suffering and death, when in fact the doctors were hopelessly lacking in developed procedures and adequate tools.  What brought on these thoughts today was a personal experience.  To fill the need of an additional electrical outlet for our new gas dryer, my plan was to remove the screw holding the faceplate on the existing outlet, plug in an adaptor with multiple outlets, and then fix the adaptor in place with a screw that came with the adaptor—simple enough.  I tried repeatedly to do this and when unsuccessful began to think I must be the world’s worst klutz.  I finally determined that I would have to have a longer screw.  I went to the mechanical department at Lowe’s to see if I could find one.  The associate in the department knew immediately what I needed (a 2 inch screw) and remarked that “this happens all the time.”  His words were very liberating to me.  I was not alone in this experience—I just needed the proper tool. 

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