It Seemed Like A Good Idea At The Time
WE ALL MAKE MISTAKES. Some are pretty obvious from the outset. With others it can take some time before we realize that we have stuck our foot in it. I have been collecting a few examples of some wildly errant boo-boos that deserve retelling.
One of my favorites dates from 1959. The fine folks in Ottawa, Ontario were gathered to celebrate the grand opening of a new modern terminal at the Canadian Capital’s Airport. Everyone was having a great time…until it all fell apart.
Someone had decided that a super way to take the new terminal into the Jet Age would be to have a jet plane flyover. Way cool! Everyone was excited as the F-104 Supersonic Jet Fighter did a faster than the speed of sound pass over the new terminal.
Unfortunately, no one had thought about the equation “Supersonic = Sonic Boom.” The sky rending Sonic Boom as the jet screamed past shattered virtually every pane of glass in the new terminal. The millions of dollars in damage delayed the opening for almost a year. At that rescheduled opening ceremony everyone was told to be “Vewy, vewy, quiet.”
To make a really big snafu takes a government and there are no shortages of examples of such foul-ups. An obscure governmental boo-boo goes back to the early days of the 20th century.
I go to the Post Office rather frequently and I have certainly seen some unusual things. A couple of years ago I was in line as a young woman picked up a parcel that was too large for her mailbox. She handed the clerk that little pink call slip and he handed her a box about two feet on each side. She opened it up right there at the counter. It was filled with 200 live baby chicks. Actually it was about 195 live chicks and five dead ones.
I didn’t know that you could send live animals through the mail, but I did know that in 1913 it was legal to send children under 50 pounds via Parcel Post through the U.S. Mail. The proper postage had to be attached to their clothing and off they went!
This didn’t last for very long as all the letter carriers (Known as “Mailmen” back then.) got really tired of hearing their mail bag asking every five minutes ,”Are we there yet?” It did seem like a good idea at the time.
Kids are now taboo, but live chickens are still OK.
To prove that things like this are not strictly a western hemisphere practice I have to tell you about the “Great Swindon Magic Roundabout.”
In this country we call them “Traffic Circles” and they are a source of confusion and downright terror until you get used to them. They are meant to help traffic move more quickly and safely than dealing with the stop and go of intersections. Well, that’s the idea anyway. However, the folks in Swindon in the south of England got carried away. Their Roundabout (Traffic Circle) sends motorist into a maze of seven, Count ‘Em, Seven circular pathways to move on to their destination.
While this was meant to move things along quickly it has had the opposite effect. Motorists are so wary and confused that they are moving through the maze at a snail’s pace. Just looking at it makes me sweat and check my insurance policy.
I close this blog today with one self-explanatory picture illustrating the Theme of the Day: “It Seemed Like a Good idea at the Time.”
Who knew that School Science Fairs could be so dangerous?