The Economy of Motion

Leveraging DevOps to Move the World

As a young child my grandfather introduced me to magic. Now, not many kids have a magic grandfather. My grandpa knew magic. Boy did he know magic. The thing is the magic my grandfather knew wasn’t the magic that made dollar bills show up inside oranges, it wasn’t the magic that made solid steel rings join themselves together. My grandpa knew old magic. He knew magic that made the stars and held the universe together. I remember the first time he showed me how to use this magic.

It was a hot August Saturday. We had spent the day doing yard work. I often did yard work with my grandfather and we had worked that day with the promise of trip to Dairy Queen on the way back from the dump if we got enough work done to load the trailer. The trailer was a typical junk trailer, an old pickup bed with a hitch welded to the frame so a pickup could pull it. It was a beater. We hauled firewood, dirt, sod lumber and all kinds of stuff in that trailer. Why not just use a pickup? Ha, no my grandpa pulled that trailer with a Chrysler. He’d back that Chrysler clear up into the yard, and hitch up the trailer to it, and drive that waxed, shiny red Chrysler to the dump with that beat up old trailer behind it. Half the wiring for the lights were strung along the sides of thr trailer with all the wiring held together with black friction tape - the good stuff not that plastic black vinyl crap.

Well that particular Saturday we were hauling off old lumps of concrete, from an old sidewalk it looked like, they were a good 4 - 5 inch slab. We had been taking them around the house from the back to the front in a wheelbarrow, only one or two at a time, so that we could actually control the wheelbarrow. That poor trailer was full of lawn clippings, weeds, crabapples, and yes, contrete chunks. It was so low by the time we were done loading it that the tires were almost touching the wheel wells and the leaf springs had passed flat and were bending the other way. As a result of having all this stuff in it already when we started loading the concrete most of the chunks had shifted toward the front of the trailer, rolling down the front of the pile.

I was a smart kid, and I had noticed this while we were loading it, but I didn’t really think anything about it. I did notice that the tongue of the trailer was lower, in fact, the tongue and the cinderblock it rested on had been slowly sinking into the damp earth. I probably had figured out at some point that the trailer was front heavy but hadn’t drawn the necessary conclusions yet to see what the problem might be. I was standing by the trailer trying to lift the tongue when Grandpa came out. I couldn’t budge the tongue, and even with my brother helping couldn’t lift it which we usually could on a dump day. We wondered how grandpa was going to get that tongue on the hitch.

While my brother and I were talking, my grandfather came around the side of the house with the wheelbarrel. We asked him if he thought he could lift the tongue. We all three pulled on it as hard as we could and we couldn’t budge it which surprised me. My grandfather grew up on a farm in Black Pine, Idaho and he had BIG biceps. I thought he was the strongest man in the world but Grandpa couldn’t lift that trailer tongue either. I noticed the wheelbarrow had a number of items in it and that’s when I saw him get a twinkle in his eye and he said, “Boys, I want to show you some magic.”

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#CDS > span:nth-child(1) > strong:nth-child(2)