When a couple of engineers get a random object from a kindly elderly woman, they must do everything in their power to determine the purpose of the object. It's like a law or something.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

An Unexpected Package

On a bleary November afternoon, my roommate Jason came into my room with a big box of random stuff that his grandmother had sent him. Accompanying the miscellanea was a handwritten note on a piece of Chickadee-laden stationary. The note, in its entirety, follows:

Dear Jason,

This is a big box for a lot of nothing. The cat toy for Jake started it. Every cat I ever saw would have loved it.

At a local bazaar last week I saw this "reindeer", and thought it is just what is needed to put on the TV -- yours, not mine!

The wedge is so practical and clever, I am sure you have seen them, I hadn't. If you haven't seen them, I'm sure all you engineers can figure out what it is for.

I spoke with your mother this weekend. I know you will have a good Thanksgiving, and I'll see you in December.



Emphasis mine.

Examining the box o' stuff, we found (as she said we would):

A cat toy:

Our cat did not quite "love it."

A reindeer:
We placed it, with as much reverence as we could muster, on our tiny TV.

And last, but not least:

The Wedge:

"practical and clever"

Now, my roommate and I are relatively smart people -- as his grandma noted, we're engineers -- but we have no freaking clue what "The Wedge" is. It looks like a cross between a door stop and some sort of... something.... We really don't know. A few quick checks revealed the following though:
  1. It does not hold doors open
  2. It does not hold doors closed
  3. It doesn't even fit under a bloody door
  4. It has a rather large, perfectly circular hole in it
  5. The smallest angle's corner is rounded
  6. The second smallest angle's corner is sharp
  7. The obtuse angle is sharp
  8. It is made of at least two different woods, one of which only exists as a stripe in the otherwise uniform wedge
Since we don't know what its originally intended use is, we have decided to honor the words of Jason's grandmother. We are going to "figure out what it is for."

Over the next few weeks (months? (years??)) we will be conducting experiments along the lines of "trying shit out on the wedge." We will not rest until we have determined the best possible use for the wedge. No possibility is too unlikely, no experiment is too ridiculous to attempt.

Join us, as we ask the question: WTF Wedge?!

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