Sunday, May 13, 2007

Pre-Nuptial Testing

Diligent readers of this column will no doubt have spotted that I’m not into the latest “have to have” technology.
Years ago, when I was one of those superannuated bus drivers known as airline pilots, we would occasionally run across a GPS installed on the flight deck. Ominously, it would be labelled “Not for Navigational Use,” leading one to wonder just what it was there for. Presumably there had been a hole in the panel and they needed to fill it with something.
It did, however, provide hours of amusement for young First Officers, thereby preventing them from irritating the captain and thus contributed greatly to the safety of the flight.
A young man in Carmarthen must be similarly thanking his luck star for GPS.
Assessing the mental acumen of one’s chosen life (or, nowadays, month’s) partner has always been a tricky business. Asking to check his or her IQ before commitment tends to lead to a certain frostiness developing in the relationship.
A membership of Mensa might be a clue, I suppose, but if proven, would be a deterrent to most.
But the problems associated with this young man’s girlfriend in finding the way to his house, using the GPS system in her car, would seem to have solved the problem for him.
Told by the magic device to follow a certain road, she came upon a gate. Opening it and driving through, she found herself athwart a pair of steel rails, spaced at 4 feet 8.5 inches apart.
Getting out of her car, either to open the gate ahead of her or to close the one behind her, it seems that whilst her brain cells were inactive, her hearing was up to par, for she heard the sound of an approaching train.
Now I’m something of an admirer of the Renault Clio, I drive one myself, but I bet they never tested it being shunted down a railroad track by a train. It seems that it failed the test.
I don’t know the make of the GPS in question but I can only think that it included in its advertising spiel “Completely replaces the human brain.”
I think the young man in Carmarthen very fortunate to have received such an early warning.

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