Duane McGuire Blog

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Unexpected treasure

Category: Random Thoughts
Date: 2022-03-01

Once again, I have subscribed to magazines. It is a rather deliberate act, designed to give me a comfortable and traditional source of enlightenment as I eat a meal or just sit in a chair. A magazine is not a smartphone. Magazines are much better behaved; they seldom take me places I didn't intend to be!

Among the publications that arrive in my mailbox is "The Home Shop Machinist." This particular magazine, I must admit, is a bit outside my skill set. I might aspire to the skills described, but honestly, I often don't even comprehend what the articles are describing. But I read, and become a bit more knowledgeable of the machinist's art.

Today, however the first paragraph of the article I turned to was very understandable. It gave me a useful idiom that I find to be delightful. Graham Meek opened his article, "A Micrometer Box Turning Tool," describing how he happened to have the right material on hand:

Back in the early 1980s, when I wanted some mild steel to make some 4 BA studs ... I simply inquired with the local steel stockholders for the availability of the stock needed and ordered enough to meet their minimum order requirements. While I needed only about 300 mm, the minimum order quantity was nearly 10 meters, but like my dad always used to say, "It won't eat nor drink and it will come in handy one day."

Such a phrase. Finally I've found a practical and humorous justification for the stuff I've collected in the past 69 years. Were I a bit more British, I might have known the phrase, but I delight in owning it now. I'm sure that my Dad also would have enjoyed the phrase and would have repeated it often. As for me, I may live to regret giving the phrase to my wife, but her laughter made it worthwhile.

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