Alex was a rat. Not an individual of questionable character, mind you, but a small white laboratory rodent with a small brown spot in the center of his forehead. His family had worked in the research science field for generations. Alex had always excelled in any of his endeavors but his specialty had always been “rodent reasoning”. Alex had quite a gift for problem solving, from solving simple food reward puzzles to more complex memory testing projects. Alex was awakened early one morning and taken from his cedar lined paddock to a brightly lit, blindingly white room with a large table at its center. He was brought to the table and placed in a small holding area at its edge. A vast and intricate maze lay before him, multiple paths, multiple possibilities but only one possible way out.
As his task began he had free rein over the maze, no direction, no reward, just wandering aimlessly. He wandered about, often covering the same ground over and over again, never getting any closer to completing the challenge. He was returned to his cozy accommodations at the end of a long and tiring day to contemplate his experiences. The next day began in the same way and he was returned to the maze for another exercise. The layout of the quandary was unchanged but some subtle guidance had been added. He was met with a very mild yet very irritating electrical shock at every wrong turn. Alex took direction well and quickly found his path to freedom as well as a few savory morsels of food as a reward for his success. Day three began as the previous two. Alex was returned to the maze once again. His adversary was virtually unchanged with one exception; the mild electrical shocks were no longer there to guide his decisions. Remembering his slightly unpleasant journey from the day before Alex navigated straight through the labyrinth from end to end flawlessly. Alex learned from his experiences through either promise of reward or outside stimulus and did so very quickly. Alex went on to organize an elaborate escape plan for himself and the other lab animals. He met a tragic end at the hand (paws) of a vicious, mutinous group of steroid test rabbits who feared his growing mental acuity. A situation I can totally relate to.
Now mice and rats, while not being the rocket scientists of the animal world are quite cunning and resourceful. Their brains are roughly 2% of their body mass just as standard Homo sapiens. I will of course exclude myself in the brain size comparison…not fair to the common man. So then to clarify; the “lowly” rodent takes his experiences and learns from them but the stately, top-of-the-food chain human race does not, in a lot of cases. Take for example the world of trucking. As a highly trained, highly motivated professional truck driver, you know all too well how downtime negatively affects your pay at the end of the week. Yet for all your years of experience some captains of their ships can’t quite bring themselves to do and pre and post trip inspection on the equipment you use to make your living.
There is an incalculable amount of pain, suffering and strife that can be headed off if you just look and pay attention to your noble steed and its wagon. Check your lights, tires, trailer air lines, sliding tandem pins. Check your brakes for proper operation and for air leaks. One underinflated tire can cost you and our beloved Epes Transport a ton of cash. That one missed tire can cost you up to 4 hours of your valuable time depending on where it decides to let go. It can cost Epes Transport in the neighborhood of $1100 and cost our C.S.A. score up to 27 points! Almost a shame that E-logs don’t emit a mild yet irritating electrical shock to gently guide the user to do a pre-trip inspection. Seems as though the prospect of less downtime and fewer surprises should be its own reward. Failing to do a post trip inspection only shifts the problems you did not check for down the line. How many times have you picked up your next load assignment only to find issues left for you by one of your loving compatriots? What comes around also goes around. Like a group of ‘roid raged rabbits around a hyper-intelligent rat…it’s a vicious circle but one you can take an active role in breaking.
‘Til next time, y’all come see us! Shunned by society only to rise up and rule the world…
The Incomparable Tito!