THE BOILERMAKER

It is customary for many people to assume that the most crucial factor for producing change in the various institutions of our society is "time." If you spend four years in a college program, you earn a degree; a nine year-old child who has never been left back must be in the fourth grade.
<?xml:namespace prefix = o /> When a criminal is sentenced to prison, the conditions of sentencing are not in terms of what behaviors need to change and how this will be accomplished but rather, how long he must remain there to qualify for a parole hearing.
 If you merely show up for work you receive a paycheck, regularly. Sometimes an estranged couple seeking a divorce is advised by their attorneys to become legally separated, from which divorce happens, automatically, after a period of time.
 We often speak of time spent with someone; or when doing homework; or in reference to labor charges, for work completed. Often, individuals seeking psychological assistance inquire about the length of treatment, rather than the type of services offered, again believing that successful outcomes are a function of time. However, time alone does not heal all wounds.
 There are other ways of determining whether or not the outcome you are receiving is useful and therefore, desirable. Perhaps this can best be related through a something that happened...
 In December, 1989, when the <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 />Hudson Valley was experiencing a severe cold snap, there were hundreds of people without power and heat for hours. Stan, who lives in an old Victorian house in Eastern Dutchess, was one of them. But unlike the others whose power and heat returned after the electric company made repairs, Stan's would not. First, upon noticing a burst frozen pipe in the basement, he reasoned that this accounted for the problem. He called a plumber. The plumber arrived with a truckload of equipment, which he carried into the house in two large wooden boxes. He proceeded down the basement to check the furnace, look for any other pipes that separated, and make repairs. He spent four hours running back and forth, completing his job. The heat would not come on. Tired and perplexed, he announced to Stan that he did all he could, handed Stan a bill for forty dollars for his service call and labor, and suggested calling an electrician; and another night of sleeping by the fireplace with his cat.
 The electrician arrived the next day, again, carrying an enormous amount of technical equipment and spending hours examining, testing, changing some wires. Reluctantly he, too, admitted that the heat should be coming on but is not; and that he could do no more. Leaving a bill of forty dollars for his time spent, he had one last desperate suggestion to offer Stan. Living on top of a mountain twenty miles away, was an elderly boilermaker. The boilermaker, though having retired several years ago, was reputed to be able to fix anything mechanical.
 Exasperated, tired and cold, Stan called the elderly boilermaker, who arrived one hour later in a Volkswagen "bug", carrying only a small hammer. Stan, who's toes were not moving since having used his last piece of firewood the night before, was somewhat skeptical as he showed the man to the basement stairs. In seconds, Stan heard him rap three times on a large pipe. Suddenly, the heat came on! The boilermaker returned upstairs appearing stoic with a tinge of sympathy as he said, "Things should be all right now." Obviously confused, Stan asked how it was possible for him to have completed a task in seconds that neither a plumber nor an electrician could accomplish in an entire work day. The boilermaker now smiling handed Stan the bill. It was for one thousand dollars! "You're kidding! How can you charge so much for only having been here a few seconds", Stan exclaimed? The boilermaker, still smiling, turned the bill over, pointed to the phrase, Breakdown of Charges, returned to his VW and drove knowing away.
Stan was aghast as he read: For tapping three times on pipe.... $ 5.00; For knowing WHERE to tap....$995.00