RTFI - The Real Reason!
There's probably a bunch of you folks out there in the world
that read the welcome page and simply let this RTFI thing go, but there's a
reason for that name on this site, and as I sorta insinuated back there, it's much deeper than the fishing thing.
Being the typical macho type of guy I are, I entered the
world of web design as I and most other macho type guys enter all things; with the
directions in the box, on the table, in the other room. Directions are, as us guys all know,
a means of last recourse. They are only there to explain things if ALL
attempts at logic and reasoning fail. They are not included to simplify life,
and make things go together correctly, they are there so that when you get all
done, you can sit down and go back through the process step by step, and see how
many steps you screwed up!
Yep... you sit there, going through the pages after it's all
over and say, "Damn! That's why that hole was too small, that was the wrong
bolt!" Or, "Hmmm, I wonder where all these left over pieces are supposed to go?"
"Oh shit! You mean that wasn't s'posed to be welded together? Well let's see,
no... welder is not included in the tools required list is it?" Yeah, go ahead
and admit it guys, you all know you do just exactly that, and that is the reason
for instructions, to see where you blew it.
Well as you likely gathered back there on the Welcome Page,
RTFI actually stands for "Read The F#^*ing Instructions." A term most macho-guys
do not readily recognize in their databanks. It is however recognized
(although seldom used) by a great many of us who have served in the
military, the suspected home of all acronymination!
Having spent time in
the Air Force, I was/am well familiar with the terminology, and it's true meaning.
As well as the fact that it was/is implied you do such before working on
something as complicated as an airplane engine. Therein a few minor little
macho-guy type screw-ups, and a few left over parts, can as I'm sure you very
well realize, have drastic ramifications! There simply is not room for them
macho-guy goodies on the flight line folks. Unless you know that engine inside out;
like the back of your hand; better than you know yourself... you better not be
working on it without reading the instructions first, and even then you damned sure
better have that manual out and laying there beside you for reference
purposes, and I might add be looking in it's direction on a routine basis, in case some inspector type individual
should happen to walk by, or you'll be scrubbing skid-marks off the runway with
your toothbrush for at least a month. Second offense will net you tooth brushing
skid-marks for the rest of your military career, wherein there is no third
I personally didn't have to worry about that, drippy faucets and plugged up
toilets are not real technical, and no one really cared if there was a part or
two left over. Technical manuals were few and far between in my appointed career
field, if you didn't fix it right, you simply went back out in a couple of
days, and fixed it again! The only ones that got grumpy was the occasional
officer's wife, and they were for the most part born grumpy, so it wasn't an issue.
Laugh if you may, I changed toilet seats in the Base Commander's house once,
because the new Commander's wife would not sit on the same toilet seat the previous
Commander's wife had sat upon! Along with changing the kitchen sink,
because she did not like white porcelain, she wanted stainless steel, and a few
other fixtures, just because.
Anyhow... I was attempting to build a web site using Front Page, fresh out of
the box, day old, never seen it before... and not having a whole lot of luck at it! Every
time I tried to get the page to do what I wanted it to do, it would disappear on
me! As much as I hate to admit it, in a macho-guy sorta way, I was stumped y'all!
I could not get it to work, for the life of me. I finally had to commit the
eternal macho-guy sin and get out the instructions as a means of last recourse,
and read them, before I was able to make a web page happen!
When I did finally get around to reading the instructions, the issue I was
having problems with was so damned simple, that I smote myself in the forehead,
and thunk out loud "Ya dummy, if you'd just read the f#%^*ing instructions,
you'd be half done with this site by now!" (That was of course
before I'd had 2 - 3 years to test theories and themes, and add goodies to it folks! It was only s'posed to be
3 - 4 pages long!!!) And, the old Air Force drill sergeant came back to
haunt me, "RTFI soldier!"
Then it suddenly hit me RT ~ Well that's me, Rocky Thomas!! And, F = Fishing! But what
about the I - hmmmm; no Inc. don't sound right! What do we want to do here. So I
put it on the back burner and let it stew awhile, whilst I wrote the goodies on
the homepage up, and when I got all done I sat back and read what I'd just wrote
and it looked like industries fit the bill pretty nicely. And, that as Paul
Harvey would say, "Is the rest of the story!" Were it not for having had to get
out the manual, there's no telling what this site might have been called folks!