Apparently, you don’t have to be a genius to make your living as a technical writer. At all.
Naturally, I’m saying this because I experienced it first hand. Last Tuesday night at 11:30, I went to the sink, turned on the water, and nothing came out. For you city folks, this might mean you didn’t pay your water bill. For us country folks, it means the well is out.
In the same way that there’s never a good time for a root canal, there’s never a good time to work on your well.
But you’re thinking, “JT! You can buy a new pump! It will slide into the place where the old pump was! And besides, you’ll have an installation instruction manual!”
I won’t bore you with 2 days of multiple trips to the hardware store, buying over a hundred dollars worth of fittings I don’t need (the return counter is going to love me), and hours spent fighting to extract an old well pump from pipes that remember the day JFK was assassinated. I will, as Prince Humperdinck would say, “Skip to the end.”
Thursday, with my hard fought plumbing job done, I prepared to prime the pump. A new, dry pump can’t begin to do its work without water inside it. For advice on how to accomplish this, I turned to the instruction manual, which was no doubt written by Mr. Technical Writer, who likely has a Masters Degree in Technical Writing. I quote:
Hey, thanks Mr. Technical Writer. I’d love to fill my well pump with water from my garden hose IF I HAD A WORKING WELL PUMP!!!
Fear not. No thanks to Mr. Technical Writer, the operation was completed successfully.
But who is this guy? My guess is that Mr. Technical Writer used to be Mr. Advice Column Writer, instructing women about how to choose the right bra size. I know, I know, how would I know anything about that? Let’s just say I need to get my hair cut at a place that has more manly reading material in the waiting room.
Anyway, Mr. Advice Column Writer told women that 80% of them were wearing the wrong bra size. His instructions for beginning the 10 step process to right this wrong began with:
Get a standard fabric or soft plastic tape measure.
Put on a comfortable bra that fits well.
Yes! To find the right bra size, take certain measurements while wearing a bra that fits well. I have a simpler idea: while wearing a bra that fits well, look at the tag and see what size it is.
Mr. Advice Column Writer probably got fired for writing such a lousy column. This disappointment could only be outdone by his failure back when he was Mr. Public Relations Expert for our local power company.
Over 20 years ago, our dear Plunder & Loot Power & Light hired an out of town production company to shoot and edit a TV commercial. They pulled out all the stops, shooting on 35mm film, simulating torrential downpours Singing in the Rain style, complete with Shawshank Redemption-esque lightning effects, showing linemen risking their lives to restore electric power. The resulting TV commercial said, “Due to severe weather, many of you are currently experiencing power outages. Don’t worry, our crews are at work and will have your electric service restored as soon as possible.”
Yes, it was a TV commercial aimed at people whose power was out. My utility dollars at work.
I’d bet that Mr. Public Relations Expert turned Mr. Advice Column Writer turned Mr. Technical Writer has been forced to take on a new, less challenging profession. I’m pretty sure he’s now employed as Mr. Political Speech Writer.