A spanner in the works

Sometimes life runs smoothly.

You are in the groove.

Things click along.


A little thing goes wrong and the proverbial spanner is in the works.

That is when the 80/20 rule clicks into play and you wind up spending 80% of your time working on 20% of your issues.

I was reminded of this today when a) my internet went down for a while and then came back up and b) I received this video clip:


I understand that is whole thing is just physics… no special effects or computer generation.  It took hundreds of takes to get it right.

This is sort of how I imagine the lives of parents with a bunch of young children.

Keep at it folks!

In this case, the spanner in the works was a necessary component.

Our obstacles can be advantages which, eventually, make everything work out in the end.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Fr. John Mary says:

    Ah, technology…a blessing and a curse.
    I’m just glad when I can get a signal to be on the internet.
    The rest of it leaves me, well, just mind-boggled…

  2. P.McGrath says:

    Rube Goldberg would have been proud … and I note that there’s a link on that Wiki-entry that has more about that commercial; apparently it’s been around for a while.

  3. Margaret says:

    This is sort of how I imagine the lives of parents with a bunch of young children.

    Actually, it’s like the life of a large family with many school-aged children. The schedules must mesh with Prussian precision or else things start to go south spectacularly… :)

    That was pretty cool, although I had trouble “following” some of the mechanics a few times– I think my computer was struggling to keep up with the video stream.

  4. ssoldie says:

    Shades of as it Rube Goldberg? WOW.

  5. Dr. Eric says:


    I think you have that 80/20 rule wrong. It’s supposed to be that 80% of your business comes from 20% of your customers! ;-)

    I hope your technical issues are quickly resolved.

  6. Agnes says:

    Margaret, exactamundo! That was precisely my life this afternoon and evening, incredible chauffeuring precision until… my teenager left me stranded at St. Agnes after CCD… Yep, things do tend to go south pretty quickly if just one element is out of whack. For her! :-P

  7. q7swallows says:

    This spanner works way better than my life! I often compare my life (homeschooling, large family, self-employed husband) to that of a Chinese plate juggler. The noise at our house can be deafening when the plates hit hyperspace!

  8. TC says:

    How do they get the three tires to roll uphill?

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