I’ve got more to say about the camera/car testing analogy, but I just saw this post today on DPR.
Maybe I’m in my dottage, but it took me back to my days as a high-school newspaper photographer. I worked in a shared darkroom, with collective responsibility for keeping the communal chemicals fresh, replenished, and properly mixed and labeled. Anybody ever lived in a commune? Me neither, but I am reminded of a great Larry Summers quote:
Nobody ever washed a rental car.
Now, in what passes for photojournalism at the high school level, missed focus is forgivable. So is harsh printing. So are thin negs (needs #5 paper? Go for it!).
But what is definitely not OK is missing the shot entirely.
So I always approached the labeling of the shared chemicals with deep suspicion. I, ahem, developed coping strategies that saved my bacon from time to time.
- Smell the putative stop bath.
- Sniff that self-identified fixer
- And — this was the bridge too far for my fellow photo-newshounds — taste the developer.
We didn’t have color chemistry to contend with. Nobody was selenium toning their prints. But viewed from my present perspective, this doesn’t seem like a safe move. But it worked. Dektol tastes vaguely like peanut butter, and Microdol like, well, I don’t know exactly, but not at all like Dektol.
I seemed to have survived, though. Or do you think my photo-geekiness is chemically induced?
As it happens, I did wash a rental car once — a Shelby CSX-T that I’d co-rented with a friend for a track day because my track car was broken at the time — but only after I had spun it off the track into the talcum powder-like dirt at 80 mph with both windows down, as the organizers required.
I spent many quarters at a self-service car wash somewhere between Firebird Raceway and Sky Harbor airport cleaning up the mess I’d made and was ultimately successful enough I believe the lot jockeys at Thrifty’s check-in counter didn’t have any clue where the car had been earlier that day. Well, except maybe for the chunking shoulders on the front tires…
P.S.: I wasn’t the only one who had this idea, either. Because the other two CSX-Ts in town were at the track that day as well. ;^)
Steve McQueen says
Normally I’d be mad about people abusing a Shelby but after googling CSX-T I feel you should have pushed as many of those cars off a cliff as possible.
Geez they made some horrendous cars in the 80s.
Jeffrey Behr says
“As it happens, I did wash a rental car once …” Wow; I knew who the author was before I looked at the header. 🙂
JG, did you ever think you had a writing style? You apparently do, altho I couldn’t describe yours any better than I could describe mine.
Your BFFL, Jeffrey the Behr