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Challenge #01387-C292: Ancient Wisdom

Measure twice, cut once, useful advice for anyone. -- Anon Guest

Rael knew he should have checked up on Shayde sooner. She had a knack for teaching new JOATs all the wrong tricks.

Chiefly: "Measure wi' micrometer, mark wi' chalk, cut wi' axe."

So, after hearing this, he simply had to barge in and defend his own honour. "The real adage, Trainee Melkith, is 'measure twice, cut once'. Ambassador Shayde labours under the misapprehension that she is funny."

"I was tellin' 'er about engineerin', thanks."

"Which is a far more refined discipline than you remember."

She laughed. "I've been watchin' some o' yer engineers, and nowt much has changed. Here, did I tell ye the one about the artist, the mathematician, and an engineer?"

Rael, though he did not, precisely, have a head, felt a headache coming on. "Madam ambassador..." he grated. "This is not open mic night at Revelry Café. Keep your... 'jokes'... to yourself."

"Listen tae him, would'ja? The stick up his butt has a stick up its butt that off an' died. Joatin' is improvisation, ye ken. Joatin' right is fixin' what the engineers got wrong."

Rael startled at this naked truth. "Shayde... you're a virtuoso at playing stupid... how did you--?"

"I worked it out an age back. And I had tae get along wi' engineers. Th' lot of 'em wanted warning lights. Over everythin'."

Trainee Melkith snorted into her work. "Kids' toys..."

"Aye, exactly. If th' posters up an' down t' hall ain't enough, no blinky light's goin' tae stop ye."

"I've seen humans go towards the blinky lights," said Trainee Melkith. "When they were asked why, they said--"

"The wanted tae see what the danger was, aye," Shayde chorused. "That's humans. Gi'e 'em a rope, they'll hang 'emselves. Gi'e 'em a wet paint sign and they'll touch it."

For once... Rael had to agree. "When did you get so cynical about your own species?"

"Eh... around age seven."

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