Sunday, January 17, 2016

Baxter Black - Standard sizes, fewer headaches

Mac told me a har­row­ing tale about los­ing a loaded six-horse trailer off the back of his pickup. He ad­mit­ted he knew the ball was too small, but it wasn’t far to go, it was get­ting dark, the kids were rest­less, it was a new moon, the tide was run­ning out, his hat was too tight ... what­ever the ex­cuse he needed to jus­tify not chang­ing the ball.

I agree, not­ing that the hitch on my wood split­ter was smaller than my stock trailer and I of­ten had to make my daugh­ter stand on the tongue when I moved the split­ter around the place.
We con­curred that there are some things in life that should be stan­dard size. A law should be passed that makes it il­le­gal to build any con­trap­tion that took less than a 2-inch ball.

Not only that, said Mac, plas­tic fit­tings. If you don’t have the ex­act cou­pling, you have to rig a cob­bled to­gether re­duc­ing, en­larg­ing, slid­ing, snap­ping or screw­ing menagerie of fit­tings to get you by un­til you can get to town for just the right part. Mean­time, your re­paired sec­tion of pipe looks like a pey­ote smoker’s whiskey still.

Have you ever tried to buy a drill chuck? “What size?” asks the friendly hard­ware man. “Well, I don’t know. It’s just a reg­u­lar drill but it’s set­tin’ on my shop bench 36 miles from here.”

How about medicine and vac­cine doses: 100,000 units per cc, 5 mg per ml, 200 mg per cc, ad­min­is­tered at the rate of 2 mg per pound body weight, 3 cc for calves un­der 200 pounds, 10 cc per hun­dred­weight, 2 pills for chil­dren, a ta­ble­spoon for adults. I heard one vet say he de­ter­mined dose by the size of pis­tol grip sy­ringe the cow­boy had!

Now Mac and I al­low that horse­shoes, Levi’s, pickup seats, jalepeños and spouses can be vari­able ... to suit the owner or op­er­a­tor. But what pos­si­ble ex­cuse can be made to ex­plain why in the past 20 years, car com­pa­nies had man­u­fac­tured thou­sands of dif­fer­ent kinds of oil fil­ters?! Just try­ing to find one that fits your truck in the car parts cat­a­log is like try­ing to find a bare­back rig­ging in a New Delhi land­fill.

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