Thursday, May 17, 2007

Life's Rich Pattern

Jaguar steering rack: from the price you'd think it was constructed from 24 carat gold

This week I discovered Murphy's corollary to Occam's Razor. The Good Friar's hypothesis can be paraphrased, more or less as: "All things being equal, the simplest explanation of a phenomenon tends to be the best one". Murphy's addendum, however, states that "In the case of matters automotive, the converse is true". I can certainly attest to the veracity of Murphy. Last Saturday my car's power steering started to groan like a Tottenham Hotspur fan who has just witnessed the team lose 5-4 after being four goals up. "AhHa", I thought, after checking the reservoir and noticing that the fluid level was more than a bit low, "this is probably a leaking high pressure hose; it's unlikely to be the steering rack as they are very well engineered and a defect here is the more complex (not to mention expensive) explanation". The need to top up ("top off" in American) the reservoir after 20 miles seemed to confirm my suspicions. On Sunday afternoon I dropped the car off at the garage and left a detailed message on their voicemail instructing them to replace the leaking hydraulic hose. On Monday I received a call from the service manager who politely told me I was nothing more than a weekend mechanic with the diagnostic insight of a gerbil (OK, OK, he didn't actually say that but his tone was very clear) and the problem did, in fact, lie in the steering rack. So much for the simplest explanation! So, $1800 later the offending part was replaced and I drove home to have a warm milk and a valium. All part of Life's Rich Pattern I suppose...

No comments: