Almost Perfect



  If you keep your eyes open and wits receptive, it’s amazing the cool stuff you come across.  Just yesterday, for example, I was driving by the jobsite you see above and did a double take.  At first, I thought that a piece of concrete pipe had loosed its restraints and was rolling toward disaster.

  Then, lo, a pair of steel arms lowered it to the ground gently as a nursemaid.  Beautiful bit of industrial choreography.  Had to stay to watch the whole process and was amazed at its efficiency and the economies of movement and energy.  One person unloaded the whole truck without assistance or requirement for outside power.

  Learned that the thing is a Pipemaster 100 and was invented in 1956 by Hank Schmidgall not far from here and has become an industry standard for all of the obvious reasons.  Easy one person operation – driver does it all.  Don’t have to wait for a crane or backhoe.  Thus no delays and can haul more pipe in a day. 

  Then later, on my way home, I couldn’t believe my eyes.  The Weinermobile!  I’d been struck with great good fortune twice in one day.  This bit of only-in-America was designed by Oscar Mayer’s nephew Carl in 1936.  There are now eight on the road: six built on a GMC chassis and two on that of a Mini Cooper. 

  Their horns can play the jingle (I wish I were a…) in twenty-one different genres from Cajun to Rap to Bossa Nova.  After multiple circumperambulations I drove home quickly, determined to find my Weiner Whistle.  Well, it wasn’t to be a perfect day, but one could hardly complain.

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