Stuff you can’t say in public

Unless your name is George Carlin or Philip Thomas, there are some things that you just can’t say in public. There are things you shouldn’t say from the podium at a user group meeting or SolidWorks World or on your website or in a book or magazine article or any other place where respectable people might hear or read it.
Since I don’t have my own reality TV show where people normally make a great living at doing and saying the rude and crude, I’ll have to resort to my blog. It might be excusable. If it gets me in enough trouble I can always take it down. A little notoriety is not necessarily a bad thing. Bad news travels faster than good news, if you’re really hungry for attention, hell, bad attention is better than nothing at all, so you might as well create what would otherwise be an embarrassing spectacle, and turn it into something positive. I mean look at Al Gore and that Borat idiot. Worked for them. Maybe I can score an Oscar as well.
Most of the credit for the material in this blog entry has to go to the imaginative people at SolidWorks Corporation who are responsible for naming things. What a job that must be. I’ll bet in various languages, this could be even more interesting. Without some of those crazy and frankly suggestive names, this post would simply not have been impossible.
As a prime example, I almost sprayed my coffee out my nose when from the Main Stage in the General Session at SolidWorks World, someone with a completely straight face announced the existence of a new feature in SolidWorks 2008 called the “Screw Mate”. I knew at that point, as an erstwhile member of what is loosely known as “the Press”, I could not let that pass without comment. Screw Mate indeed. Where was this a few years back when I really needed it?

Actually the idea for some bit of writing like this first came this past summer, when slaving away on the SolidWorks 2007 Bible text, in one of the Best Practice tips, I innocently remarked that it is best to “mate as high in the tree as possible”, of course referring to trying to avoid circular or convoluted references between parts in an assembly. When I sat back and read what I had written, I suddenly got this mental image of a couple of monkeys falling out of a big banyan with their eyes rolled back in their heads and beads of perspiration on their faces. It was definitely time to step away from the computer for a couple of minutes.

This was followed by even more suggestive phrases. It was like an inside joke that inevitably would be wasted on most of the people who read it in complete innocence. “Mate with Skeleton Member” was one that kind of scared me a little. I mean, when you see it and know to think of it with that dirty minded mentality that puts “…between the sheets” after anything written on your fortune cookie, you think it is just a bit too obvious.

There are more, too. SolidWorks 2007 has a “Multiple Mate Mode”. I thought a guy in Utah was recently arrested for that sort of thing?!? Who is coming up with these names? Another one I liked was “the use of belts and chains with mates”, referring of course to the new functionality with sketch blocks. It was said originally in all innocence, but I can’t keep myself from blushing reading it now.

Talking about Toolbox with a straight face is hard enough, without being able to “screw into multiple holes at once”. Come on! Someone somewhere is laughing their ass off because of this series of not so subtle jokes played on the typically innocently naive SolidWorks using engineer. I was doing some reading in the Help one day and came across a reference to “fixing mates which are not satisfied”. Geez, now THAT would be helpful!

Once, I was talking at a user group about using macros. And I frequently use macros to create mates, because it is so much faster than the klunky mate interface. So when you’re not using macros to mate, you are “mating manually”. I’m sure the group was a little perplexed when my bald spot turned a deep maroonish color. I was blushing uncontrollably, but couldn’t crack a smile or mention why “mating manually” brought about that reaction. I felt like the gallery in the Monty Python movie Life of Brian where Pontius Pilate (who had a lisp) was talking to Biggus Dickus and his wife Buttocks Incontinentia. I guess you had to be there.

The one that always seems to get people, and I can’t even mention in public, is one of the classifications in the Draft Analysis tool. First of all, we all know what the first four letters of Analysis are, and often when I’m trying to use a different form of the word, I butcher it so badly or stutter and only get out the first two syllables. This is never any good in front of a group of stony-faced injection mold engineers. But then you get to the draft classification called “straddle face”. I simply cannot keep my composure when talking about this.

Anyway, if you’ve got more to add, please send in a comment. I’m sure there’s a whole slew of stuff out there that’ll make people wonder about you a bit as you giggle to yourself while you’re quietly caressing model faces in the corner.

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