Hotel Burned Down by Andy, the Hobo Traveler

Every day for the last five years, I have worried that this will be the news headline that makes me infamous.

I like a hot shower, as many of you know. I have this hot water heater thingie that I put inside a bucket, heat the water, and then take a dip shower. I have not taken a cold shower in years. There is nothing better than a hot shower, and I truly hate cold water showers in the morning.

But I have been afraid. My mother knows me, and she knows that if my head was not attached, I would leave it at home. It is just impossible for my brain to monitor something. What I mean is this: I have placed the heater in the water, plugged it in, forgotten it, and then came back an hour later to find the water boiling. It has been just a matter of time until, inevitably, I would burn down a hotel.

I know me, and finally, yesterday, I devised a system to keep from burning down my apartment here in Kara, Togo. It took a lot of work, but I purchased a 60-minute timer switch, wired it up, and used it the first time.

What a relief to know that the timer will automatically shut off the electricity!

This two bedroom apartment is brand new, truly a luxury, and even though it only costs 73 USD per month, I do not want it destroyed.

Plus, I am paying the electric bill. I have to admit, the ability to burn down my own room AND paying my own electric bills motivated me to finish the project.

Idiot-Proof Systems

John Roussel, one the most clever men on the planet said, “We have to make it idiot-proof.”

This is a system to keep me, the idiot, from burning down the hotel, my apartment, or any other room I live in on the other side of the planet.

In reality, I strive daily to make systems that are idiot-proof, impossible to screw up. Does anyone have a technical, Wikipedia-searchable term to describe this? What do we call this type of thinking?

We can remove the obstacles to doing something, or we can create systems whereby there is only one way to do something. We do right, or we don’t do it.

Two Systems Developed

Here is great video showing two systems I made in the last two days to keep me from being an idiot.

1. Keeps me from getting locked out of my apartment complex

2. Keeps me from burning down my hotel

Andy Lee Graham
Kara, Togo, 2013

Another Idiot-Proof System
I always look for systems whereby it is close to impossible to screw them up.


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