But First Moments
There’s a really great episode of M*A*S*H from Season 1 entitled “The Army-Navy Game.” In this episode, everyone is glued to the radio listening to the big game, until a barrage of artillery leaves an unexploded bomb in the compound. Of course, anyone they call who can help them deactivate the bomb can’t be bothered because of the game. One naval officer goes so far as to tell them to call at half-time (or something along those lines).
Eventually, Hawkeye and Trapper take on the task of defusing the bomb, with Colonel Blake reading out the instructions. They have to un-tighten a screw, remove the cap and eventually get to the wires. At this point Colonel Blake reads out to them “and carefully cut the wires leading to the clockwork fuse at the head.” Trapper cuts the wire. Colonel Blake than continues “but first, remove the fuse.”
At this point, Colonel Blake looks perplexed, Hawkeye and Trapper exchange glances of dread, they try to get as away the bomb stops ticking and explodes, raining down a shower of CIA propaganda leaflets. A classic M*A*S*H moment.
I have been known to use the term “a but first moment” when the opportunity strikes. Recently, I had one recently. A few weeks back, I was working on an estimate for a client for some signage and display work outside his office. I went and took pictures of his existing piece, measured it, sent specs out to vendors for production, installation and everything need to complete the job. Showed him one vendor’s ideas and he said “no.” Showed him another vendor’s ideas, again “no.” Presented him with a 3rd option and he didn’t say no. He just said “I don’t need all of this. I just need you to design the sign”. I have a guy who can handle production and installation. At which point I say to him “but first…”
Here’s another classic but first moment. It’s actually a typo but it certainly qualifies as a “but first” moment, at least in my book. Take a look at the image below, which is taken from Hemispheres – the United Airlines inflight magazine (click on it for better viewing).
Can you spot the mistake. I will give you a clue (with kudos to my friend Matt for coining this one): Ready, Fire, Aim. You’d think with all the writers, editors, proofreaders, etc., who work on a publication of this nature, that there would be no typos but I guess they just missed this one.
For everyone who flies in an airplane, let’s hope this is only but first mistake any airline personnel ever makes.
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