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Copyright: Fred Robel, and Fritz365 2010-2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog's author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Fred Robel and Fritz365 with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Sacrificial Fate

Cut from the same cloth
Stamped from the same mold
Inspected and finished out with hundreds of others
Each being inked with part number 456HK12Y
And a sequential serial number
Otherwise appearing alike as they are carefully stacked into shipping crates

But they are really not

There is always at least one in the bunch
That seems perfectly normal
But carries with it a very different fate
While all of its brethren will pursue their functions as intended
This one
Or small group sometimes
Will be the sacrifices that pave the way for the others

Nested like spoons in this example
The identical bent angle brackets wait in a dark drawer
Slowly becoming fewer in number
As stock levels fall to the re-order level

Every time one is removed
The same person takes charge of it
Carrying it carefully out to the shop floor
Over to the left wing leading edge
Where the same access panel is always open and waiting

Set down next to a rivet gun so old it must have built things in the Civil War
The new bracket sat assured in what lay in store for it
As it was gripped gently
Maneuvered carefully into place
Turned this way a certain amount
Then pushed in one inch further
Before being rotated back the other way a hair
Which cleared the way to place it where it needed to go

This precise movement was learned over six years of practice
With the same person doing it every time every day

Until last Saturday
When the whomping cough caught up to our experienced technician at last
Laying her out for at least a week
Per doctor's orders

So young Cal took over Station 235f on the third assembly line in Building 2
Signing out his tray of p/n 456HK12Y - RH Loom Brackets
Serial numbers P634 thru P672
Carrying them carefully out to the shop floor
Over to his new station on the line
Where an access panel was open near his work table under the shade of the left wing

Set down next to a rivet gun so new it looked like liquid chrome
The brackets quivered uncertainly at what lay in wait
As s/n P634 was selected from the stack and gripped awkwardly
Shoved into the opening
Scraping the sides as it went
Losing green primer in twin straight lines
Before bumping into an obstruction
Being turned to the left and pushed
Not going anywhere
Being turned to the right and pushed harder
To break in half

Leaving the two halves of the part
Which one could address separately as
"456H" and "K12Y" due to the location of the break
Each equally stunned in silent shock

Cal, on the other hand, was undeterred
Because he had just learned that you have to turn it THIS way a bit
In order to get the part past that obstruction
And had grabbed s/n 635 to brave the breach with
After clearing out the two halves of the first

Going in a little more carefully
Not scratching the finish so much this time
Turning it just so
Before pushing it too far at once
Getting it stuck on three bolt heads
And snapping this unfortunate bracket into three pieces

Much to the horror of everyone and everything involved
Cal repeated this process twice more
And adding little metal corpses to the floor at his feet
S/N's 636 and 637
Until he had gathered the information necessary to get the part where it needed to go safely

Thus had the manufactured bits
That had been destined from the start
(Unbeknownst to them)
To be what is known in the industry as "Sacrificial Training Parts"
Or STP's
Met their fate

Such was the cost for Cal to know what Sally had known for over six years
Though it had only taken her two times to learn it then