Longer and Shorter Days

I was working in a scrap yard during summer vacation at an engineering university.

I worked repairing construction equipment.

One afternoon, I was taking apart a piling hammer that had some very large bolts holding it together.

One of the nuts had corroded on to the bolt, so to free it I started heating the nut with an oxyacetylene torch.

As I was doing this, one of the dimmest apprentices I have ever known came along.

He asked me what I was doing.

I patiently explained that if I heated the nut, it would grow larger and release its grip on the bolt, so I could then remove it.

“So, things get larger when they get hot, do they?” he asked.

“Yes,” I said. “That’s why days are longer in summer and shorter in winter.”

There was a long pause, then his face cleared.

“You know, I always wondered about that,” he said.

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