I’m often accused of being a cranky old man. Sometimes, the charge is not entirely without merit. But on this one issue, I’m not angry, just mystified.
Why does my leaf blower have more than one power setting?
I can’t imagine any circumstances under which I’d find lower power useful. If I have to use a leaf blower, I’d like the chore to be over with as soon as possible. It’s hard for me to envision standing in the yard during a bright, sunny, autumn day, wearing a flannel shirt and blowing leaves as slowly as possible as a wisp of smoke from the chimney curls up to the cloudless sky. I mean, I’m not making a Lowe’s commercial here. I want to dispatch these leaves quickly so I can get back to the couch.
All I can figure is that the manufacturer put the lower setting on there to make me think I’m getting more power than I really am.
Scene: A large, windowless room, filled with electrical equipment and tools, parts of lawn mowers, snow blowers, and tractors lying inert on brightly-lit tables, each with an electrical engineer in a white lab coat and safety goggles peering intently at its insides.
Suddenly, an obese, middle-aged man in a brown suit bursts through the double doors, leaving cigar smoke, a secretary, and a vapor trail of impatience in his wake.
“Peterson! Peterson! Where’s Peterson?”, he barks. One of the lab coats turns and tentatively raises a gloved hand.
“Um. Right here, sir.”
“Peterson!” The big man wheels in the aisle, knocking a can of lubricant off a table, and races over, taking long, quick strides.
“It’s almost June, Peterson! We need to ship the new Articulated Scoop N’ Suck Leaf Blowers by July! Where are we?”
“Almost – almost there, Mr. Spacely”, Peterson stammers. “Last step is this power switch, then it’s ready to go to production.”
“Hmmph. Hmmph,” Spacely grunts. He yanks the leaf blower away from Peterson, knocking a glass beaker to the floor that shatters. A long-suffering maintenance man walks over with a broom as Spacely turns the blower upside down, right side up, then sideways.
“How many power settings does it have?”
Peterson looks at him quizzically. “How many? Well, um, just the one, Mr. Spacely. We call it ‘On’”
“One!? Are you kidding me, Peterson? How are we going to sell leaf blowers with only one setting?”
“Well, market research tells us nobody ever uses anything but maximum power anyway, sir. And besides, it’s already blowing 600 cubic feet per minute. That’s enough to knock a passing paperboy off a Schwinn.”
“Dammit, Peterson! The actual performance has nothing to do with it! We’re not selling the steak, son; we’re selling the sizzle! What self-respecting suburbanite is going to stand around the gas grill on a Saturday and brag to his neighbors that he has a leaf blower with one setting? That guy’ll be running to the drugstore to fill his Viagra prescription in minutes! He’d be a laughingstock, boy, a laughingstock!
“Now here’s what you’re going to do, Peterson. You’re going to add a lower power setting to this thing ASAP. We’re going to call the lower setting “High” and call the regular setting “Road grader”. Got it? ABC, Peterson, ABC. Always be closing.”
Spacely jams his cigar back in his mouth and turns away quickly, his suit coat knocking a can of soda off a table as he bulls his way out the door. Peterson turns glumly back to his work.
“Well,” he mumbles to himself. “I’m glad I didn’t show him the Breast Cancer Awareness model.”
Now that we’re getting into basketball season, the signing events are picking up for Thirty-Two Minutes in March. On December 2, I’ll be signing and selling copies during the Southport game at Center Grove.
On December 10, I’ll be at the Southport Shootout for most of the day at the fabled Southport High School Fieldhouse. It’s the tenth largest gym in the state, seating over 7,000. Southport has put together a strong lineup for the day. I’m looking forward to seeing Romeo Langford (probably the 2018 Indiana Mr. Basketball and a high-level D-1 recruit) in person. The schedule is:
Castle vs. Mt Vernon (Fortville)………………………..12 noon
New Albany vs. North Central (Indianapolis)………..2:00 PM
Cloverdale vs. Park Tudor……………………………4:00 PM
Fort Wayne Snider vs. Hamilton Southeastern……..5:40 PM
South Bend Riley vs. Southport………………..…….7:20 PM