Wednesday, June 11, 2008

U Is For Understanding

Finding Shelter In An Ale Storm

Photographs copyright: DAVID McMAHON

In his previous job, he spent a year as a trouble-shooter for a major broadsheet newspaper. His primary task in that role was to ensure that the paper hit its deadline each night, instead of missing it as had become the case.

He reckons it was an amazing year, a fulfilling year, a rewarding year, a year of a steep learning curve, a year in which he learnt as much about human nature as he did about drilling through and finding solutions to some major issues that afflict the world’s best newspapers. His phone rang constantly in that time. It rang early in the morning. It rang late at night. It rang shortly after dawn on weekends. It even rang at a wedding reception.

He’s married to a very wise woman. One day she told him it was a good thing he wasn’t a drinker. The way she explained it, his brain was never fuzzy with a hangover, so whenever his phone rang, he was able to sort out each issue with a clear head, unencumbered by the foggy residue of alcohol.

Did he loathe the job? Naaah, he enjoyed it. Did the pressure get to him? Naaaah, he thrived on it.

He’s a people person. And he reckons that year taught him a lot about corporate solutions. You see, he’s a down-to-earth sort of bloke. And he’s always had this theory that all problems, all issues, all hurdles in the workplace can be solved with a variety of simple human equations.

He even toyed (albeit briefly) with the idea of writing a corporate handbook. You see, he was never afraid to say “I don’t know’’. But when he was confronted with a problem he didn’t have a full understanding of, he knew where to go to seek advice. He sought the opinions of people who dealt in truths, not platitudes. That approach made it easier to solve any problem that came across his desk. And there were some amazing problems.

There was one unusual situation that had him scratching his head. You see, the newspaper that employed him was a seven-day-a-week publication. Six days a week, the paper was chronically late. One day a week, it was only marginally late.

But here’s the confusing bit. On the one day each week that the paper wasn’t as late as every other day, there was an unusual twist. Six days a week, let’s just say the paper had a deadline of 10pm. But one day each week, the schedule was even more demanding, with a deadline of 9.30pm.

You’d think that the early deadline would have been a problem. But no, the truth was quite the opposite. On the day when the paper had an early deadline, it was generally late by only a few minutes. But, just to confound any logical though progression, the paper was late by fifteen minutes or more on days when the 10pm deadline was in operation.

He examined all the data, but could not make head or tail of the issue. He has a great understanding of mathematics, but in this case, nothing added up – literally or figuratively.

So when he felt he had reached a dead end, he went to seek out one of his trusted advisers. The trusted adviser scratched his head and came up with a canny – and entirely accurate – answer.

``The problem,’’ said the canny adviser, ``is that you don’t drink.’’

The production guru was puzzled. ``Are you saying,’’ he asked, ``that if I drank, the solution would be apparent?’’

``Pretty much,’’ nodded the canny adviser. ``If you weren’t teetotal, you’d have the answer to this intriguing mystery.’’

Then the canny adviser explained The Number One Secret To Newspaper Production. The early deadlines were in force each Friday, explained the canny adviser. He revealed that all the reporters filed their stories as quickly as they could each Friday, so they could get out of the office in double-quick time and go to the pub.

For the home of ABC Wednesday, go to Mrs Nesbitt's Place.


Petunia said...

Great post, David! love to read your words:)

ellen b said...

LOL! Uncanny. I've always wondered why my mail comes an hour earlier on Fridays....

Jeff B said...

Now there's some sound logic. Loved reading that one.

Texas Travelers said...

As a former Manager and Director, it seems logical and reasonable to me.

Solution: Pay the local Pubs to close earlier.

Nope: Not practical.

Solution: Live with it and join them.

Loved your post.

U is Under scrutiny.
Come visit,
Troy and Martha

John said...

Very nice post and great shots as usual, David.
Have a nice wednesday.

Lee said...

David, I loved that story. It tells so much. And that second picture, I kept going back to it. It has that Nighthawks feel to it. Very effective use of that shot.


Anonymous said...

What a great story. I enjoyed your U post very much.

imac said...

Need I say it,ok alright, Tis a great set of photos and story is a spell other words David, great Post.

come and visit mine for the High Jump.

For The People said...

You always have such great posts.

leslie said...

Makes perfect sense to me! lol

Hootin' Anni said...

Now you got me thinking. That's bad!!!

Was it Freud or Einstein who had seven outfits of the same, so he wouldn't have to 'choose'.

Hope you can stop by my blog now!! Have a great Wordless kinda day.

Pernille's ting og tang said...

Wonderful post as usually:)

Kathryn said...

Haha! That is my kind of logic! Great story!

holly said...

sshshshsh don't tell my boss, but this is the same reason i get all my code fixed early on friday!

shshsh! he must never know...

or then he'd come with us! NOOOOO!!

Maggie May said...

Liked the tale and the shots were really good! You weren't writing about yourself, by any chance?!

Picturing of Life said...

great choice for u theme

Mine in here Thanks

mrsnesbitt said...

Great post's at times like this I wish I didn't enjoy the odd glass of wine....last night for instance...the wine was great but the glass tasted very odd! LOL! head hurts! LOL!

RuneE said...

An Uncanny advice. Cheers!

Oh, BTW - my U is here

Mental P Mama said...


Neva said...

What a great post! I am all for making it to the pub on Friday for a beer! too funny!
Mine is here.

Kim said...

Great post and nice pictures, have a good Wednesday :)

Hilary said...

Excellent tale, David. Good for what ales ya.

Cowgirl said...

Aha! Of course! Can see the rush now!

Methinks he should write the coporate handbook none the less.


KaiBlueCreations said...

Aloha David,
I like the Elephant and wheelbarrow name.. It's kinda Groovy,
Peace, Kai