Coal

Cabin Conundrum

Issue 1 and Volume 108.

A psychologist, an engineer and a theologian were hunting in the northern wilderness when the temperature suddenly dropped and a furious snowstorm hit. The hunters came across an isolated cabin, far removed from any town. They had heard that the locals in the area were quite hospitable, so they knocked on the door to ask permission to rest.

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No one answered their knocks, but since the cabin was unlocked, they entered. It was a simple place…two rooms with a minimum of furniture and household equipment. Nothing was unusual about the cabin except the stove. The pot-bellied, cast-iron stove was suspended in mid-air by wires attached to the ceiling beams.

“Fascinating,” said the psychologist. “It is obvious that this lonely trapper, isolated from humanity, has elevated this stove so that he can curl up under it and vicariously experience a return to the womb.”

“Nonsense!” said the engineer. “The man is practicing the laws of thermodynamics. By elevating the stove, he has discovered a way to distribute heat more evenly throughout the cabin.”

“With all due respect,” interrupted the theologian, “I’m sure that hanging the stove from the ceiling has religious meaning. Fire lifted up has been a religious symbol for centuries.”

The three debated the point for several hours without resolving the issue. When the trapper finally returned, they immediately asked him why he had hung the heavy pot-bellied stove from the ceiling.

His answer was succinct. “Had plenty of wire, not much stove pipe.”

Editor’s note: Corporate communications has evolved to the point where it seems the highest and most common use of e-mail is the dissemination of jokes and humor stories to business acquaintances around the world. Power Engineering has collected a number of such communications from many anonymous e-mail sources and will present them in this space for your enjoyment. We welcome your contributions of engineering, technology or business related humorous pieces to [email protected], but please do not send copyrighted material.