Monday, July 16, 2018
Better to Be Late
My Uncle Dick was a test track driver in the research and development department at Ford. He spent the last 20 years of his time in the emissions certification lab, but for the first decade he drove thousands of hours, and thousands of test miles for Ford. They would drive a car 100,000 miles in a couple of months, and take apart every nut and bolt to see how things stood up. When I was a little hamster, he took us on a tour and I vividly remember the car disassembled into thousands of pieces carefully arranged on the floor in a room the size of an airplane hanger. They drove the cars lots of miles, as long as someone didn't crash the car before then. And that happened. After one of Dick's "incidents" his colleagues gave him a plaque that read "It Is Better To Be Late To The Golden Gate, Than To Arrive In Hell On Time." The plaque was on the fireplace mantel in their house on the lake. It is one of my early memories. When we studied California geography in the 4th grade, I recited that little rhyme to my teacher, she didn't think it was cute - but it was memorable, here I am 50-odd years later and I still remember it. I remember making the connection between the rhyme on the plaque in Dick's basement, with the story of the bridge that couldn't be built.
Do you recall saying anything that shocked your teachers?