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The maintenance man,preventing disaster before it starts

Observer Viewpoint | Wednesday, February 4, 2004

I know this might be on the inane side of things, but considering most of what I do involves a certain level of inanity, I thought I might comment on this particular aspect of everyday Notre Dame life.

Walking casually to class the other day, cigarette dangling from my lips because the frigidity of the natural world is too much for my complaining hands, I noticed a truck demarked with the words, “Notre Dame Preventative Maintenance.”

Now, many of us might think there is nothing wrong with this truck, hoping the owner of such a truck is dutifully running around campus protecting us all from the ruinous appliances present in the fair buildings in which we supposedly learn.

However, the phrase “Preventative Maintenance” raises certain questions.

I was under the impression most people live according to the age-old adage, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” despite the apparent misuse of grammar.

However, the owner of said truck obviously has other ideas in mind. I must wonder, what does this man actually do all day long?

Obviously, there is no need for him when all things are working correctly. Does he have certain premonitions, small angels, the flight of an eagle, or any sort of variation, that tell him when something might go wrong? Has this man unlocked the secrets of divine inspiration in the modern world? Does he sit in a locked office all day long, awaiting calls from mysterious people with “tips?”

Even when things do go wrong, what could he possibly do to prevent a window from breaking or a heater from shutting down?

There is obviously no use for him in these moments of dire need because people immediately call the maintenance crews, those men equipped with the necessary tools to actually fix things, unlike this man who, despite my various attempts to figure this problem out, probably has no tools at all. At that point in the game, he has clearly missed his chance; his moment to shine, passed.

Or perhaps he is the mischievous sort, running around campus actually preventing people from doing maintenance, in which case his tools would probably be either a machete or a samurai sword, chopping maintenance crews to pieces.

So what exactly is my point? Am I wondering about the clear misuse of budget dollars by the University?

No, that would be much too practical of a complaint for a man such as I.

Instead, all I really want to know is, what do you do, sir? And, in my attempt to continue the inane life, can I get in on it?

John HibleyjuniorOff-CampusFeb. 4