On the farm we have a pick-up truck. It has a standard shift. That means that in order to run it, one must learn to operate a manual transmission. There are 1st- through 5th-gears, reverse and neutral. Not everyone can handle it.
One sunny summer morning, the truck was parked just outside of the double corncrib. The east and west walls of the corncrib hold ear-corn. The roof between them protects the machinery inside. The north and south aspects of the building are open with a large sliding door hung on the north end. Much of the time it houses the truck. But this day, it was out in the sunshine perched on a slight incline.
I don’t recall now why I slipped the gear shift into neutral, but I did. All too soon gravity started working. I could not believe my eyes. The truck rolled right down the slight hill and I was powerless to stop it. The aging truck hit the old wooden fence post by the calf pasture. Fortunately no large damage came from this incident. But it broke the fence post clear through, and it had to be replaced.
Lessons to learn from this scenario:
- Gravity is a power to be respected.
- Neutral is easily overcome by forces stronger than itself.
- Damage can come about as a result of being in neutral.
In life there are times when one might dare to think that a neutral position is safe and prudent. But that’s not always so. Be careful about using neutral. Just as in this example, you can be unpleasantly surprised.
photo credit: Bretta Grabau