Thursday, August 12, 2021

Truth, Fact and Myth

Tom Beard was a story-teller of note. He was of a vintage that built race cars and then raced them on Saturdays on dirt-tracks. He also had a friend in the Engineering Garage at the nearby engineering center.

One of his stories involved a race car he built when he was low on funds. He had a V8 with $500 of go-fast parts in it and a beat-up Chevy to drop it in.

He also had a secret weapon from the Engineering Garage. He had one of the first sets of ceramic brake pads-and-shoes seen this side of Military applications.

Like all good story-tellers, Tom had a knack for setting the tempo of the story. By the time he was at the climax you could almost see his car attached with a slinky to the high-dollar cars. They would roar past him on the straightaways stretching that slinky. Then they hit their brakes. Tom kept his foot to the floorboard and slingshot past them and was hard into the curve before nailing his brakes.

He claims the guys in the faster, much more expensive race cars said they saw sparks and flame shooting from his brakes as he laid into them.

Lap-after-lap, Tom talked us through the race. It was nip-and-tuck. Tom's closing moral was "People don't think about it, but sometimes you can go faster because you are better at going slower."

Translated, he didn't make as much horsepower as the guys with the high-dollar vehicles but he could make that horsepower further down the straightaway than the other guys because his brakes didn't fade like the other guys'. He could go faster, longer because he had a better way to slow down.

Henry Hayseed stories

I think we are all drawn to Henry Hayseed type stories. Henry shows up to cut wood and his cousin Urbane Jirkov shows up with the most powerful Euro chainsaw money can buy. Henry is running his dad's old Poulan. Henry kicks Urbane's butt because Henry's chain is newly sharpened and Jirkov cannot be bothered with mundane details.

Or Henry is splitting firewood. Urbane challenges him to a race. Henry keeps grabbing the ash, Red Oak and maple and letting Jirkov split elm and Burr Oak.

Henry with a cane pole and a can of worms out-fishing Urbane and his high-tech tacklebox.

Stories of Henry and the electric fence are legion.

Are they totally factual? No, probably not. But they contain Truth.

Older tools that are sharp and free from rust are better than tools with shiny paint and dull edges.

A $1500 truck that is maintained and has great tires is better than a monster truck on bald tires.

A firearm that you are intimately familiar with and can hit everything you see out to 150 yards is infinitely superior to a strange firearm that you will reliably miss with out to 600 yards.

A modest radio with a great antenna will frequently outperform a high-end radio with a mediocre antenna.

Myth should not be dismissed simple because we cannot verify the Fact of the story.

The world is getting very weird. Keep your heads up and eyes and ears open.

If any readers want to suggest Henry Hayseed type "truisms" in comments I will gladly run a post that highlights them.


  1. Publish as many truisms as you can find. Please!

  2. I can't think of any that come in allegorical form, but I can hear my Dad saying "you might as well take your time and do it right the first time, only going to take longer if you have to do it twice".


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