The lost bet — Part 3: Czech tractors and the truth

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Have you ever met a very convincing person telling you something and swearing its the truth? And one minute later, another one tell you the absolute truth, although it's the opposite of what the first one says? One thing is for sure: "The truth" is not always true.

In these days, with primary elections in the US, Migrant crisis in Europe and Panama Papers all over the world, I meet a lot of truths. If you see people interviewed on television, cited in newspapers or magazines,  and especially in “Comments” field in relation to those articles (often by people educated at the School of Hard Knocks) – everybody would love to tell you the truth.

In order to perform an effective argument, which is what I will do in the continuing parts about my lost bet, there is a need for some conceptual clarifications. Therefore, I will use the coming parts to define some basic concepts.

The first thing that pops up in my head when I think about arguing for something, is that it guaranteed are some that will argue against me. We will both claim to be right, taking ownership to our own truth. Behind every truth there is (not a woman, as many of you might have thought) a foundation based on knowledge (and sometimes even lack of it), political view, experiences (in life, mostly), group affiliation and bias. Therefore, it is very important to know the foundation of your opponent, so that you can understand the motivation they have for their arguments. I will come back to this later, but first; something from real life.

When I was following a course in barefoot medicine in Managua, just before they sent me into the jungle of Nicaragua to save the world, I learned something important about science; I learned about the difference between positivism and humanism. This, we can say, is two opposing beliefs about most things in life, both in psychology, medicine, sociology and you-f ... ing-name-it. Both positivism and humanism argued convincing about their own “findings” as true, and the findings of the others as “bullshit science” – and both claimed to have a monopoly on the truth.

As many of you hopefully still remember, I have been working in a warehouse at a hospital (in some kind of managing position … ) and at the warehouse I was a certified fork lift driver. Being the 2nd in command meant that I could prioritize myself for going to seminars and exhibitions.  One time I went to something called Forklift Users Conference in Herzogenrauch, abbreviated FUCH, together with Anderson, who was chief at the Mechanical Workshop. A small digression; we had a lot of internal fun with this abbreviation, making our own T-shirts stating “We only came to FUCH” and “Dedicated FUCH-experts”, and now I realize it was a bit childish, but together with a lot of other people high on German beer, we actually made many people happy.

Anyway; Anderson and I went, and I put him in charge of getting a hotel in the nearby city, Nurnberg. Most of you know that this is a big city, which also hosted the trial after WWII, but I guess Anderson slept during that history lesson at school – if he ever attended school. He only heard that we were going to Bavaria, and as he is very interested in ski jumping, he was biased. In his head he saw Nurnberg as a small and cozy Alp Village where the men went around in leather shorts, and all the women wore dresses, had big boobs and one-liter glasses of beer in their hands. If you don’t know what I mean, just google “German waitress” and you’ll see. So Anderson found a map (this was long time ago and nobody had heard of Google) and began to plan. Since Internet yet weren’t born, we Anderson couldn’t check out facts, but Anderson knew a woman at the Travel Agency. He called her and she found two possible hotels; Hilton and one called Hotel PartenKirchen. As Garmisch-Partenkirchen actually is a cozy Alp Village, where there are annual ski jumping competitions, Anderson was convinced; Fuck Hilton, let’s go PartenKirchen.

When we arrived we discovered that Nurnberg was not a small Alp village, with a cozy market square, a couple of small beer houses and the typical “German waitress”. It was a big city, in the middle of a Prairie, and the Hotel was a small grey building next to a big truck stop. It was definitely what I would call a “whore hotel”, where rooms were rented out on hour-based basis, loaded with girls in short skirts and with a lot of lipstick, arm in arm with truck drivers with beard and big tattoos, and with condom vending machines at each end of all floors. Fortunately, Andersen had brought ear plugs to both of us; otherwise we could never sleep with all the screaming men and women, one of them definitely faking.

At the Conference it was, as it always is to such conferences, a huge amount of interesting lectures and product presentations. We were especially impressed by a guy from the Czech Republic who demonstrated a monster of a forklift. It reminded me of a tractor, but with forks which could lift both high and heavy, although it looked as being both bulky and clumsy in a small warehouse. It kind a reminded me about some of the whores I saw wandering around our floor the night before. The Czech gave us a demonstration, and I have to admit: It was simply impressive, and both Anderson and I agreed that we should tell the hospital management that we had found an interesting candidate for a new forklift-delivery, if we only could reconstruct the warehouse a little bit.

At such conferences there is always the big food-tent where you can get something to eat and drink, and we suddenly found ourselves inside such a tent, looking for a table. We saw a free space and sat down, ordered sausages and sauerkraut (the only food they served) and beer. Soon afterwards came the Czech in. He looked patiently for an available table, so we a waved him over to us, and he was very happy to be allowed in. We told him how impressed we were by his forklift, and he boasted loud about it. “What a positive guy”, I though and then it came back to me; the lessons about positivism and humanism. I thought there might be some other truth about the forklift, and after many more beers and sausages, I asked him.  

"But are there no disadvantages with your forklift?". He looked at me with a tender look, before he nodded his head and replied.

"Yes there are two disadvantages", he confirmed, almost ashamed.  We asked what it was and there was a sadness in his voice when he continued.

"It breaks down very often, and it is difficult to get spare parts." Anderson looked at me, I looked at him. His eyebrows were raised, and I felt that so were mine. We shrug and ordered more beer. As you probably understand, we didn't sign any contract with the Czech.

This little story shows the importance of finding the whole truth, and not just the one you see first time. Especially since there are many who claim to have a monopoly on the truth. If Anderson and I hadn’t found the real truth that day in the beer-tent, I guess the hospital would have had a lot of fucked forklifts, and problems ordering more spare parts. Now, due to our scientific approach, the only ones who were fucked were the whores of Hotel PartenKirchen, and maybe the Czech if he didn’t shut his mouth the next time he was talking to possible buyers.

Finding the right truth, is crucial in the forthcoming stories about my lost bet.

Since we never made an agreement with the Czech, we had to travel to more forklift conferences in order to find the future of warehouse optimization, and since all such conferences (as I have told you before) have a beer-tent, bot Anderson and I were happy. But we never got to FUCH again.

 

To be continued….

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