Tuesday, January 10, 2012

A Sandal-Trough Scenario

Those who have worked with me for any length of time, know that I'm prone to drawing analogies.  Usually bad ones.  Few are worth mentioning and most aren't worth repeating.  This is the exception.

I'd like to see the Sandal-Trough Scenario term reach widespread use.  In short, it refers to a sequence of two (or more) unrelated, largely neutral events which yield an undesirable (or perhaps horrifying) consequence.  Anyone who has found themselves in a leadership position for any reasonable length of time has undoubtedly encountered a Sandal-Trough Scenario.  Let me explain the terminology, then:

Sandal - Predominantly open-toe footwear that is easily slipped on or removed.  Most commonly worn in spring/summer months (or year round in warmer climates).  All the pleasantries of going barefoot, but more acceptable in public spaces (also, more all-terrain - obviously).

Trough - In this case, a urinal trough.  For those readers unfamiliar with the urinal trough, it's a design which wholly replaces the single-user urinal in men's bathrooms.  The urinal trough is most commonly found in large sporting arenas or venues.  It is both odious and odorous.  It is also a perfectly reasonable design given the contributing factors:
  • a huge volume of male customers
  • space efficient relative to single-user alternative (cram in there, buddy!)
  • voluminous consumption of beverages which both a.) significantly increase urinary waste production and b.) significantly decrease disposal "accuracy."
However, few can reject the potential for unsanitary horror that can result at the intersection of sandals and urinary troughs.  Therefore, I give you the Sandal-Trough Scenario, two perfectly reasonable and unrelated decisions whose combination yield an unwelcome (and potentially messy) result.

Feel free to use this terminology in your next meeting, team presentation and/or Sunday brunch.

* I'm perfectly aware that there are probably half a dozen other terms used to describe this scenario.  Mine just happens to be, at best, more relatable and, at worst, a more graphic and memorable depiction.