Friday, February 28, 2014

Three Leg Stool


"In three words I can sum up everything I've learned about life: it goes on." - Robert Frost

A question came up recently in which I was asked why a milking chair has only three legs. The milking chair of course being a short chair used to hand milk dairy cows. The person making the inquiry knew I had grown up on a farm and wondered why there were not four legs. The thought was that four legs were stronger than three.

The answer to this question is very similar to what I have enjoyed the past eighteen years at my place of employment. For many years, there have been two men that together with myself formed a three-legged stool. Our job was to go in when all else was hopeless and recover a customer. Some would call us a "flying team" because our engagements were typically last minute, get on a plane situations.

We always called those our "Friday crud sandwiches" because most escalations were handed over to us late in the week. This made scheduling family events or other activities a roll of the dice. You just never knew what was coming and when. But it was thrilling and we enjoyed most every one of them.

As a team we solved quite a few cases in places all over the world. When you left, you never quite knew if you would be gone a couple of days or a couple of weeks. Most times it was only one of us on location, but the other two were always available to support the one. A three-legged response that took the job seriously and worked quite well.

And now with the retirement of one and the changing job roles of the other two, the three-legged stool is about to be hung up in the barn. It will hang there for many years, unused and collecting dust and cobwebs. Then one day, someone will come along and ask the question, why were there only three legs on this stool?

The answer is because a three-legged stool works much better on a crooked floor. When the situation is found to be uneven, three legs will provide a more sturdy base. It will not rock back and forth like a four-legged stool. You will be more sure of your placement and accomplish the task given.

So yes, we were a three-legged stool always placed into uneven situations. We provided the stability until things could be smoothed out once again. I will miss working as part of that stool but as Robert Frost says, "...life": it goes on."

Stay inspired my friends.

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