It began with the simple delivery of a repaired newspaper machine to Helper.
"I have your machine ready to go," said our repairman Val, who resides in Emery County. The phone line crackled a little. "Do you want me to bring it to the office or take it to the location directly?" he asked.
"It only makes sense that you take it right to the location," I said as I was preoccupied with some matter on the Internet. "You will need some recent papers to put in it so I will leave a stack at the front counter," I said as we concluded the conversation.
It was nearly lunch time and I had some errands to run so I brought out a stack of that day's Sun Advocates, put them on the counter and asked our classified manager to be sure that Val got them. Then I walked out the back door, thinking things were just hunky dorry.
About an hour later I walked in the back door and as I did our production manager was on the phone with someone.
"This is Val on the phone and he says he doesn't have a lock for the machine," she said. "He is in Helper standing there wondering what to do."
As Mr. Super Publisher I sprung into action.
"Tell him I will be there in a few minutes with a lock for the machine," I yelled, swinging my arms around in the usually excited way that I do.
I fumbled with the pile of locks that we have on a table in the back room and found one that actually had a key that would open it. I put it in my pocket and raced out the door, headed to Helper.
When I arrived there was Val standing there.
"Here is the lock," I said as I tried to hand it to him.
"Didn't you bring the rod that goes through the back of the machine to lock it?" he asked. "You know when I take them out of service to repair them I always leave the lock and the rod at the office."
I looked at the lock in my hand. Of course it wouldn't do any good without the rod that runs through the machine. I didn't know that he didn't have it. I should have asked more questions instead of running off thinking I was going to save the day. Afterall, I was trained to ask questions about everything. Details are important to a reporter.
Val drove off as I took the papers out of the machine and left it there bare, empty and unlocked, until I could get back out to place a rod with a lock on it to secure it.
When I got back to the office, I started to look for the rod. I couldn't find it. So I called our back room manager.
"It's next to the wall by my desk," she told me after I had asked about the rod from the machine.
I looked and looked and I couldn't see it. Some women in our office always tease the men about "looking like a man" and that is what I was doing. I finally found it behind some posterboard laying against the wall. There was the rod with a lock through it, soundly snapped shut.
"It has a locked lock on it," I told her.
"The key rings for all the locks are in a drawer on the other side of the mail room," she said. "There are four key rings, and the one with the fewest keys is the one that key will be on. The rings are in the left top drawer."
I walked across to the other side of the building. There were a number of drawers, so I looked in the top left one.
"It's not there," I said.
She insisted it was so I looked again. And then, under penalty of looking like a man, I opened all the drawers and could only find one key attached with tape to a piece of paper that had the words "This is the key" written on it.
"There are no key rings here," I said.
"Are you sure you are looking in the right place," she said, with a bit of irritation in her voice. I didn't blame her; I can bring that out in people.
"It's not here," I said again smugly, knowing that I had throughly examined all the drawers and therefore could not be accused of viewing things like a male of the species.
She was silent for a minute then she spoke.
"You know what, I bet Val took the keys because he was going to work on a number of machines today and he needed them," she said.m "That's where they are. Val has them."
I looked around. What had conspired to make two hours of my day go by without getting anything accomplished.
"I will call him and tell him to bring them to the office," she said.
About an hour later Val showed up with the keys he had taken that morning when he had picked up the papers to put in the machine, whose rod and lock were laying on the floor behind some posterboard, less than two feet from the key that would have solved all my momemtary problems.
Consequently the machine got its rod and lock, the people who wanted papers there could buy them and I went home thinking about what might have been had I known a little more about what I was doing.
The keystone cops have nothing on me.