….This home building horror story was brought to my attention by an engineer who had been asked to look at a foundation slab. He arrived at the site before the owner and took the opportunity to look over the concrete pad which would soon support a new house. The engineer checked the corners- they were all perfectly square. Next he got down on his knees and looked across the surface. It was perfectly smooth. He used an instrument called an “eye-level” to see that the surface was perfectly flat. Then the owner arrived
….The first words out of the owners mouth were, “You see the problem? What can I do about it?”
The engineer was confused. He told the owner that he had already looked closely at the slab and could find nothing wrong. “In fact” he said “it’s one of the best concrete finishing jobs I’ve ever seen. What’s the problem?”
….“Look Again” the owner instructed, then continued, “I’m personally building this entire house. I did the finishing work on that slab myself and I agree- it’s a perfect job, but there’s a reason. No pipes were in the way. I forgot to put in the plumbing.”
….The owner wanted to know if there was an inexpensive way to install the plumbing without damaging the concrete. The engineer explained that tunneling under the slab would be expensive and could weaken the ground supporting the house. Cutting through the concrete to install all of the plumbing would require so many holes and ditches that future cracking problems were unavoidable. There was no cheap way out.
….Cataclysmic errors and unbelievable omissions are performed regularly by people of high intelligence. I think I know why.
….When I was learning how to count and write numbers, I did pretty well with everything but the number eight. Unlike a one, it has no straight lines. Unlike a five or six, it’s supposed to end where it starts. Swirling over and down, then under and back across itself in a never ending circuit was a never ending challenge for a little boy holding a pencil as thick as his wrist.
….But, there were times when the number eight posed no problem at all. I could write it error free anytime it was the wrong answer. I remember the frustration of seeing a perfect eight whose existence on my paper had to be erased. I believe the human brain has a special section that’s in charge of making mistakes. I call it “the eight lobe.” It’s primary function is to perform any task absolutely perfectly at absolutely the wrong time. The other parts of the brain can usually hold the eight lobe in check, but occasionally for reasons not yet understood by brain science, the eight lobe is able to take control of the entire thinking process and, once loose, cannot be stopped until the task at hand is complete.
….That explains why intelligent people can make such major home building mistakes. They haven’t lost their intelligence. They just have an “eight lobe” that’s run amuck.
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