Snapshot: Knowing Where to Knock

If you’re an 80s kid, I’ll bet good money that you grew up on a diet of sitcoms. Great, weren’t they? Like a great many people, I consider ‘Friends’ to be one of my favourite shows. I watched it so often I can remember all the lines.

I’m going to assume that you, like everyone else on this planet, is intimately familiar with the show. There was this episode where Monica and Rachel lost their apartment to the boys on a bet. They had to switch apartments with the boys who lived across the hall.

In one of the episodes, there was this switch that was driving Monica nuts because she didn’t know what it did. Of course, Monica being Monica, she just had to find out, and in the process literally tore the apartment apart. By the end of the episode, there were huge holes in all the walls. She wasn’t even a little bit closer to finding out what the damn switch did.

That episode reminds me of this story:

The production line in a factory had come to a standstill. All of the company’s top engineers laboured to get it started again, but they had no idea how to fix the problem. They didn’t even know what the problem was! Of course, by now the CEO was getting really anxious because the downtime was causing the company to lose a heck of a lot of money. With not much choice left, he decided to call in the woman who had helped build and set up the assembly line.

Being happily retired, she wasn’t too happy about being called. But she came anyway. She grudgingly trudged to the factory and took a quick walk around. She looked carefully at each of the units. Halfway down the assembly line, she stops. With a cigarette firmly in her mouth, she slides underneath the conveyor belt. Everyone looks on, confused and slightly worried. They hear her giving the machine a few knocks with her hammer, and she slides out again. The machine chokes, then sputters back to life.

The relieved CEO calls her into his office to give his thanks and pay her bill. He asks her how much it came to and was shocked when she said, ‘It’s going to cost you $10,000.’ The CEO answers, ‘Are you crazy?!? $10,000 for some lousy knocks?’

The engineer replies, ‘The knock costs $1, but for knowing where to knock? $9,999.’

The switch was used to control the TV in Monica and Rachel’s original apartment.


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