Prelude to Speak Not Professors

I often use the weakest link in a chain analogy because of how easy it is to explain a harsh truth that every country boy or girl has heard, seen, and often experienced no matter how well they learned the lesson.  We sometimes have it happen because a weak link might not be readily apparent.

Even if you have never pulled a car from a ditch with a tractor, dragged logs out from the woods, or anything similar in one way, shape, or form, I suspect that everyone reading this understands that regardless of how strong something is that strength is only going to maintain itself until the weakest point gives way. Hence, a chain is only as strong as its weakest link.

To me that’s basic and really just plain ole common knowledge. The hardest thing is locating that weak link or section and then finding a way to overcome or bypass that weakness.  Often you can just shorten the distance and not use a known weak link. I’ve used hooks or smaller chains which allow me to bypass that weak section. While the accidents can result in a need for the procedure, the process itself ain’t brain surgery; actually it’s physics, engineering, etc., but since I don’t want to scare friends, just stuff you learn by observing, doing, and because you have to git-r-done.


Now I can recite historical bibliography in my primary fields ad nauseam. I most likely cannot explain to anyone how to correctly dissect a circle into equal parts, but I sure as heck can take the appropriate markings on a hunk of metal and use an acetylene torch to cut you those equal parts. No, I cannot lecture on the chemistry or relate specific temperatures either. I just need to feel the metal, use some thingamabobs to determine my sections, look at the color of my torch flame, and listen to the sound of the torch both before and during the actual cutting to know what adjustments are needed. Many of my friends regardless of formal schooling or current occupation would do the exact same except they might use whatchamacallits, thingamajigs, or doohickeys instead of thingamabobs for their measurements. Heck some will even use a compass or that hinged pointy jabber stick.

You also don’t keep problems hidden or neglect to tell someone that you did a quick patch job to make something work. That problem will just get worse or that patch job will be unknowingly stressed to the point of failure resulting in unnecessary expense, time, and energy.  Showing someone that you used a piece you cut from an old inner tube and some electrical tape to make a quick patch on a radiator hose in order to finish bushhogging a field ain’t the same as airing your dirty laundry in public.

The first brings attention to the problem with the desire being to ultimately fix the problem. The second just tries to hide the problem behind a veil of stink. Unfortunately the breezes often change directions, and that stench comes up and drowns you instead of whatever or whoever happens to be over yonder.

Folks the previous two paragraphs describe some of the happenings in higher education back home in Louisiana.  It is sad what has happened within my birth state; where I attended the same public school in Livingston Parish from K through 12 and graduated as valedictorian; where I earned both BA and MA degrees before leaving the state for additional graduate school work with an intent to perhaps return and teach at one of the institutions of higher education in the state.

Please read The Sadness of LSU and Higher Education in Louisiana:  Speak Not Professors