The 'BARKING OWL' always has something to say, and like the feathered version, can be either WISE...............or ANNOYING!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Industrial Do Overs

"Do-over, schmoo-over", I said to myself when I read this week's topic.  "I'm not sure I believe in do-overs."

It sometimes seems that, people want to act like the crime they just committed, or the stupid thing they just said, or the false idea they tried to live by, should simply be overlooked or erased or ignored.  As if there were no consequences to any action, folks want a "do over".  As much as I would like to pretend that I didn't just move my rook to the wrong square and leave my knight hanging out there all alone, the deed is done; good-bye horsie!
Perhaps nobody noticed that every other note in that last song I sung was flat, but it's there on the tape, and will not be undone before being perused again, and laughed at.  If only I could always think through my little one-liners before they leave my suddenly embarrassed lips....but alas.

In the meantime I went to work in the shipyard struggling for the right idea to address this theme.  I worked on the Sykes which is having a major bulkhead between two giant cargo tanks replaced.  We set up scaffolding in the Block so the fitters could repair a major dent high up on the starboard shell.  The PRT needed some cracks in its large framing members rewelded.  A barge is in the dry dock (What did I hear?  It costs $50,000 per day?) for some big-time rework after the hull was crumpled by a few stubborn rocks that proved tougher than the barge's thick steel hide.  One of these near 1000 foot ships is being repowered this year: Old engines being totally replaced by brand new ones which requires large shafts to be cut right through many steel decks.

What do I know about do-overs?  Well it suddenly hit me (too), that each of these few jobs, of the many being done during this winter's recoup, is in fact, a literal industrial strength do-over!  A dozen ships are docked there in the ice and waiting for stagers and ship-fitters, and machinists and welders and electricians and boilermakers to swarm through their decks and cargo holds and ballast tanks and engine rooms.  Broken parts and worn steel will be identified, excised, and renewed as new equipment and freshly fashioned steel crops and plates are installed.  When done, each ship will leave as soon as the frozen lakes allow, entirely ready to load up with tons of coal or taconite, confident in its refurbished condition.  Now, every time I hear, or use, a word with the prefix "re" attached, I will think "do-over".

As opposed to the context I referred to above, where one hopes to satisfactorily ignore or dismiss a real problem, most things, and all people, are like the Great Lake's freighters; in desperate need of the costly, extreme and vital work of a do-over.  Every thing we own breaks down, and our bodies certainly wear out (especially in the shipyard!).  But most importantly, our very spirits were born broken, and tending toward rebellion against our God.  If you deny your need to be forgiven, your ship will soon sink either when it runs aground at full steam or as it settles to the bottom from all the slow leaks.

The very good news is that Jesus says "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest."  A true "do-over", performed by the Great Creator Himself, is offered and available to all who will sincerely ask for it.  His only requirement is the admission of the need, and the acknowledgement that, like a broken ship foundering in the lake, one can not save himself.  As He died on the cross and then rose again, so our sin enslaved spirits must die (good riddance!) and be resurrected into a brand new, permanently replaced, life in Christ!  The ultimate "do-over"!


  1. There's always something spooky, vaguely sad and uncomfortable about seeing those massive beasts out of their element. Not sure I could work with them without constantly looking over my shoulder for the ghosts of voyages past! Cool post, Mike :o)

  2. The ultimate make-over or do-over indeed! Love it, Mike. Living in Michigan I have walked a few of those metal giants of the lakes and I am always intrigued by their creaks and squeaks. If they could tell their tales...

  3. I always feel like I've had a do-over after visiting your blog. It is always a wonderful nudge of the spirit. Thanks!

  4. I love the ultimate do over that those who believe will eventually receive. It gets me through so much just knowing I have that to look forward to.


  5. Mike, Thanks for your post. I sometimes do work as a carpenter, and I love the stories that a house tells on itself, on its construction -- the trickle of water down a rafter showing where a roofer didn't drive a nail home and the head punched through a shingle, the crackling around the sill that shows a homeowner has been lax in repainting or the sun too hot in baking, the odd beam with bark from the old days that shows hatchet marks where one side or another was left unhewn. The way entropy and heat and cold and water and ants and wind and disregard creep into the framework and lift and separate, always requiring a do-over, a replacement, an upgrade. I like your description of industrial do-overs very much. In life we are either fighting back the chaos, or it overtakes us and we sit and wait for the rust to set in. Thanks for letting me read your piece.

  6. Another fine job Mike! Where do you find the time to write? Do you have a certain time of day when words flow more freely from your brain cells to your finger tips to your keyboard? Just wondering if you'll share your "secret".



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