There are a lot of words in the English language that sound alike but have different meanings, such as thermometer and thermostat. Affectionately referred to as homonyms, theycan lead to potentially funny statements or serve as the punch line to a joke.
A good example is the string that walked into a bar and asked for a drink. The bartender gruffly responded, “We don’t serve strings here!” The string left the bar down, but not out. Determined, he messed up his hair, tied his body up and went back in. The bartender looked at him and said “Aren’t you the same string that was just here?” “Nope,” the string says, “I’m afraid not.”
You see, the punch line works in two ways, because the string is now also a “frayed knot.” Admittedly this is not the funniest joke ever shared, but it does illustrate the point I’m about to make.
Although thermometer and thermostat are not exactly homonyms, they could be mistaken for one another. While both of these devices take the temperature of the surrounding environment, that’s where the functionality of the thermometer ends. The thermostat, however, takes that reading and does something to fix the problem.
The thermostat doesn’t just gather information; it takes the next step, or next number of steps, to use that information in a proactive and useful manner. We should all remind ourselves on a regular basis to be thermostats, and not thermometers.
It’s no secret the economy has a large hill to climb yet, but the precast industry as a whole needs to stay positive and be proactive so we can become the “top of mind” material for specifiers. Sitting back and waiting for them to come because they will understand, through osmosis, why precast is the right product won’t work, particularly when the projects are fewer and farther between. We need to get there first, come prepared, and leave no doubt that precast is the material for the job. If we don’t that thermometer will continue to have the same reading, and that’s not good for anybody.
President, National Precast Concrete Association