Thursday, October 9, 2008

This Week's 'Word'

On Monday I received a somewhat panicked call from the Owner of the company asking me to go to Chicago to take over a project that's in deep whatever. I thought he was kidding. I'm just finishing a fast track job & me n' Deb were really looking forward to visiting our kids & grandkids up in Pennsylvania, taking some time off, getting ready for the holidays, planning a 'ghost sail' for Halloween, maybe even a short trip to the Keys or Bahamas. A well deserved rest was in order. After determining that he wasn't kidding, only one word came to mind. After 2 days of back & forth & finally deciding to go ahead & do the job, I still referred back to that same word. Now I'm running around getting everything situated & packing for a 6AM flight on Monday - & that same word keeps popping up. I guess I gotta do what I gotta do. So I'll take this opportunity to explain the "word" that I keep muttering & how that word came to be. It's also sorta related (that's a stretch) to yesterday's post about boats.

Manure: In the 16th and 17th centuries, most everything was transported by ship. These were the days before commercial fertilizer was invented, so large shipments of manure were common.

It was shipped dry, because in dry form it weighed a lot less. Once water (at sea) came in contact with the manure, it not only became heavier, but the process of fermentation began, of which a by-product is methane gas. As the stuff was stored below decks in bundles, and since it was common for wooden ships to take on some water in the holds, the manure would become soaked. Methane would then build up below decks and the first time someone went below with a lantern, BOOOOM!

Several ships were destroyed in this manner before it was determined what was happening. Thereafter, the bundles of manure were always stamped with the term "Ship High In Transit" on them, which meant for the sailors to stow the manure high above the lower decks, away from the water.

Thus evolved the term " S.H.I.T ", (Ship High In Transport) which has come down through the centuries and is in use to this very day - in my case - pretty much on a continuing basis since Monday.