The jobsworth in my preferred glass-cutting place needs a sharp blow to the groin. I have accidentally bust one of the six small panes in my 1970s (?) back door, using a wheelie bin (don't ask). So I need about a square foot of glass to replace it. I want stuff that's a bit out of the ordinary - fluted, with the flutes 'dished in' and flute size about 12mm peak-to-peak. The place I contacted does keep an unusually big range of glass in stock and it seems they might have something close enough. So far so good. "What's it for ?" he asks. "My back door" I say. "Ah, it'll need to go away to be toughened - that'll be three or four days" he jokes. Except he's not joking.
A few nanoseconds thought would have revealed:
There are still five other non-toughened panes in the same door. So toughening one of them is not going to make the situation significantly better.
We've lived with this door for 25+ years without incident, and the previous residents lived with it too, and they had five kids. So there's a good deal of firm evidence that it's not exactly a death trap.
No-one died even when it finally did break. In fact no-one was hurt at all (unless you count the psychological trauma of one person being somewhat pissed-off). Not even when it came to digging out all the old putty and glass shards.
Not being able to get a replacement piece of glass today means I will have to cut (yes, cut, using a sharp thing !) a bit of board to fill the hole and then fix it in place using something else (maybe a hammer and nails). This exercise will almost certainly be much more dangerous than living with six rather than five bits of untoughened glass would have been.
There was someone on the radio the other morning saying that we don't need to teach advanced abstract maths to most kids. Instead what we need to do is to equip them to use simple maths to make reasoned real-world judgements. They might usefully start with the bloke in the glass-cutting place.