Saturday, December 13, 2008

Keeping Your Thumbs Out

38. Keeping Your Thumbs Out

This is actually an important business lesson tangentially related to a slightly vulgar joke. As deadlines approach and fatigue levels rise, it can be extra important to be safe in your work. Doing something foolish, say, breaking a drill bit and driving the still rotating broken stump into and partially through your left thumbnail can dramatically limit your ability to complete the work you already felt behind on. During your final push towards any production deadline you are most subject to injury and it is the least convenient time for you to be injured. Be careful.
As an artist, the only person with the skills, knowledge, and access to protect you from injury is you. Take the job seriously, in part by not taking your deadline so seriously. Laugh a little. Look around. Accurately assess your own fatigue and maintain safe work habits. Keep yourself cheerful and safe.

So, …a traveler buys a camel for a journey across a desert. The salesman assures the traveler that the camel is more than fit enough to cover the distance. Unfortunately, the salesman is wrong, the camel founders, and the traveler is forced to return on foot. He complains, most forcefully, to the camel salesman and receives a second, “better” camel.
A week later the traveler is back, the second camel having met a similar fate. The traveler is exhausted, bedraggled, and irate.
The salesman asks, “Did you water the camels before you left?”
“Of course,” replies the traveler.
“Did you brick them?” asks the salesman.
“Brick them? What do you mean ‘brick’ them?”
“Ah,” replies the salesman, knowingly. “When the camel has its nose in the water and is almost done drinking, you smash its testicles between two bricks and the camel snorts up that final gulp of water it will need to make it across the desert.”
“Doesn’t that hurt?” asks the traveler, appalled.
“No, no, you just have to keep your thumbs out.”

With too much to do and too little time to do it you might feel a little short-handed. Don’t risk also being short a hand. Being safe saves time.

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