Pondering The Fail Safe
Normally a Monday goes kind of like this: Get up between 0600 and 0630. Get coffee. Read online papers and listen to the TV news. Check Fantasy baseball waiver wire (I am having a terrible season). Around 0730, wake up Ben. Feed Ben. Pack lunch for Ben, dress Ben and generally finish tasks until 0843, then we leave for school. At 0900 Ben starts school, so I return home to finish up a few things and then by 0930 or so I try to be in the studio to record whatever it is that I have cooked up for the days podcast.
Usually I have had the weekend to think about things, and I have some remarkable thought that I want to build a show around. For example, we stayed in a hotel this weekend where Ben insisted on reading to us the emergency procedures every time we passed them. Specifically he was most concerned that in the event of a fire, we not use the elevator. He had the “don’t use the elevator” part down, but he wasn’t so clear on the why. I really didn’t want to get too graphic with him, so I tried to explain to him that when the electricity fails the elevator gets stuck and you might roast in the elevator.
Also, I informed him – NEVER use an elevator on a ship. Period. Always take the stairs. He wanted to know why, and I didn’t have the heart to share with him the stories about the Lusitania cooks who panicked and tried to escape using the elevator. So I just told him that if the ship floods, it’s easier to swim up the stairs than it is the elevator.
Which all left me to thinking about elevators and emergencies. Specifically, why don’t elevators have Fail Safe systems built into them so that when power is lost, they automatically descend to the next floor down and open the door? Or even the lobby floor? Why are they designed so that they just stop on loss of power? On a submarine, when we lose power, the Main Ballast Tank Vents “fail shut.” They fail in a position that allows them to function and the submarine to blow ballast and surface. It didn’t seem to me that elevators would be that difficult to design to fail safe.
So normally I would have worked that into a conversation this morning about how the plan for the firing of James Comey didn’t appear to have a built in fail safe; or how the PDRK missile launch flew for 700km over thirty minutes (seriously?) lacked a fail safe system. It would have been something along those lines.
But instead of all of that, today I have a rare opportunity to spend time with my parents and some extended family I have not seen since… 2006, I believe.
If you know anything about me, you know that my family is simply the most important thing there is. In the past year I have learned a great deal about our history. But sadly, I have also discovered how much of that history is lost. Forever.
So I have this rare opportunity and I am taking it. As you read this I am probably sitting around a table engaged in a conversation about the past. My past. My family’s past.
All so that I can try to preserve as much of it as I can, for the future.
See ya tomorrow.