We had a call the other day from a guy who had been to Bob’s Bait, BBQ, and Servo Repair Shop. He was having some trouble with his servo and he figured Bob could help him out.

“You’ll have to bring it in here to my workshop,” Bob had told him, wiping down the counter with a rag that seemed to have a bold pattern in BBQ sauce red.

He got back to the factory, where the floor manager was still shouting and stamping his feet, and looked at the servo motor cabinet. Somehow taking the servo motor out and carrying it along to Bob’s didn’t seem like the greatest idea he had ever heard, now that he was looking at it again.

So he called me. “I went to Bob’s ’cause I heard he had some fresh catfish in,” he explained, and he said I should just pull the servo out of the cabinet and carry it in for him to look at.”

I got some numbers from him and asked him a penetrating question.

“Have you checked the cable yet?”

There was silence on the other end of the line. Then footsteps. Then cussing.

“Looks like maybe I need a new cable,” he muttered. We swapped a few numbers and I dropped the cable off, along with a spare. The floor manager stopped yelling.

Then I headed out to Bob’s. Catfish sounded good. A lot better than slowing production down by starting with the most difficult, heaviest, most expensive thing. It makes more sense to check the cables or the batteries, and even keep some extras on hand. If you have bigger fish to fry, you’ll know soon enough.