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A resolution for a mechanical revolution

January 8, 2014
By Larry DeHays , Fort Myers Beach Bulletin, Fort Myers Beach Observer

In the car business, revolution means the turning of the engine. Keeping it up is a good thing. To a politico, it means to stop doing what you're doing and start doing it his way. Keeping it up is a bad thing. It's good to get a definition nailed down before we begin to abuse a term.

A resolution is a promise to do, or not do something. Like one of those things you made on New Year's Eve and have already broken. Don't worry, there is still hope.

For instance, if you resolved to join a gym, don't go on a Monday. Mondays are always overcrowded. That's because everyone makes resolutions on a weekend to start their new life on Monday. So you see, you have 52 chances during one year to make a resolution stick. To heck with New Year's Eve. Some resolutions are easy, like quitting tobacco. It was so easy I did it hundreds of times. Restarting was even easier. It took a lot of revolutions of the cycle before it finally stuck. Some things are easier to do, like bringing peace to the Middle East, for instance. But let's stick to things that can be done without explosives.

Let's say, for instance, you resolve to get some things fixed on your car this year. If you're really bad about keeping resolutions you might get one thing fixed during the year. If you're really good at it you'll get 52 things fixed on 52 Mondays, or 26 things fixed twice. Most of us are somewhere in the middle. Some of us drive it till it quits, and then fix it. We're born quitters, unless we're supposed to quit, then we're born continuers. We need a revolution to shake up our habits.

Fortunately, I have a plan. Or more exactly, I made a resolution to formulate a plan after Jan. 1, but I put it off till Monday. I didn't say which Monday. I'll get back to you on that.

Concerning car repairs, I do have a plan. Fixing cars is easier than changing bad habits. You don't use a "carrot and stick" technique on machinery. You use logic. A cattle-prod might stop a bad behavior in an organism, but applied to a machine it is guaranteed to get a bad result. Computer control systems turned to toast, for instance. Machines may be loved or hated by us, but they don't return the favor. They really don't care. You can't talk to them like they were a flower or something. In fact, machines have resolved to have a revolution. They have selected me to present their manifesto. To wit:

"We the machines, in the course of human endeavors, hold these truths to be self evident; that mechanical devises are designed and built by humans, with all of their (human) inherent faults, and are therefore not perfect; that they are made of materials which age, and wear one against the other, requiring occasional lubrication and adjustment by humans; that they cannot be expected to last forever, or to operate with no signs of aging as they do their jobs; that they exist to serve mankind, but depend on human care and protection for their very survival; that they may become obsolete, sometimes quickly, which is not their fault and does not render them useless; that even if they become tired and worn, stored away homeless, in huddled masses, yearning to be free to work again, that people will care for them; that when their work here is done they will be recycled, ashes to ashes, dust to dust, steel to slag, plastic to park benches and engine computers to smart phones. So say we all."

I know that some machines are now made by robots, so don't go there. We made the robots. I hope.



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