The Random Comic Strip

The Random Comic Strip

Words to live by...

"How beautiful it is to do nothing, and to rest afterward."

[Spanish Proverb]

Ius luxuriae publice datum est

(The right to looseness has been officially given)

"Everyone carries a part of society on his shoulders," wrote Ludwig von Mises, "no one is relieved of his share of responsibility by others. And no one can find a safe way for himself if society is sweeping towards destruction. Therefore everyone, in his own interest, must thrust himself vigorously into the intellectual battle."

Apparently, the crossword puzzle that disappeared from the blog, came back.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Puzzlements and Cobwebs

Each day I rise from slumber, put on some clothes, start my computer (and Faye's), stagger out to the kitchen, pour myself a cup of coffee, wander back to the computer, and go through my mental exercises: two solitaire games, one jigsaw puzzle, and at least one crossword puzzle. It has become a ritual of sorts. 7 days a week.

I believe it helps me sweep the cobwebs from my brain but it probably doesn't. On the other hand, it cannot make things worse so it is likely harmless.

For 34 years, I worked for the Bell System (Southern Bell, Pacific Telephone, and AT&T)... solving puzzles for its customers.

I have been reading a book by Michael Connelly of late. The Black Box. A Hieronymus, "Harry", Bosch novel. Harry Bosch is a detective with the LAPD assigned to the Open-Unsolved Unit. He takes new looks at cold cases.

I can relate. One of the things I used to do when I was bored at work (or ran out of current trouble tickets) was to dig up the oldest trouble tickets and try to fix the problems I found. Some had been around so long that the paper of the tickets had become brittle. One of the oldest of these had been around since shortly after the office I was working in at the time (an old SxS* switch) was opened in the 30's. It took me a few days to find the problem, maybe a couple of weeks.

Old troubles get shuffled to the bottom of the pile easily enough and linger there while workers ignore them. Most people I worked with did not want the challenge they represented. I can understand that. They were frustrating. You knew that they had been looked at by many over the years, many who failed to make much headway in solving the problems they represented, and they rarely documented what they did. It was the newbies, mostly, who bothered to even read them. Newbies are still curious, still interested. After a few years most lose their curiosity and begin ignoring the "oldies" also.

I would run out of trouble tickets or just be bored with the "easy ones" that crop up every day. Easily solved troubles didn't interest me so much. At these times, I would happily grab the oldest tickets. In fact, I often worked the oldest tickets first. I knew others had at least scanned them, maybe made a few attempts to resolve them, and put them back in the trouble ticket bin in favor of something more easily cleared. I suppose most feel clearing a lot of troubles is what they are there for and, so, spending more than a hour or so on a trouble would lower their output. Probably true.

I was more than happy to grab the old, repeat, and chronic troubles to work on. I rarely had to have help with them and I could work on my own (which I preferred) most of the time. Some of these required getting assistance from other work groups or offices. That was ok, too, though it was often tough to get more than cursory attention from those folks. But I was persistent... and tenacious... and probably seen as a PITA because of it. And I cleared everything I could. I don't recall leaving any behind when I left an office to go elsewhere.

Maybe I could have been a good detective.

*Step by Step


Tom Sightings said...

Just finished reading The Black Box. I'm a big Michael Connelly fan. I myself am more in the leave-well-enough-alone camp; but it's good there are people like you and Harry Bosch.

Douglas said...

Tom, I love the Bosch books but wasn't all that impressed by the Lincoln Lawyer.