Grunt Factor Guildlines

There have been sev­er­al shows that have shaped my idea of the sil­ly and cool things men do, but one of the very best was “Home Improve­ment” which fea­tured Tim Allen play­ing Tim (The Tool­man) Tay­lor.  Inside the show, Tim host­ed a tele­vi­sion pro­gram called “Tool Time” and the show plied it’s humor at so many dif­fer­ent meta-levels.

In par­tic­u­lar to this arti­cle, there was the man-grunt: a salute giv­en to tools that were cool.  The grunt was very expres­sive.  It could sound like a ques­tion … sor­ta “aaaruu” … to a full blown gut­tur­al salute to unbri­dled pow­er (which I won’t attempt to spell).  For the unini­ti­at­ed, this youtube link gives a good sam­pling of the expres­sive­ness of the Grunt.  Lis­ten­ing to it now, it appears to have a “goril­la” qual­i­ty to it.

Giv­en that the grunt is a desir­able man-thing and that the grunt itself is a very expres­sive thing, I pro­pose the fol­low­ing “Grunt Fac­tor” score:

  1. Over Pow­er Fac­tor — OPF (3):  This score is not about the absolute pow­er of an item, but the amount of excess pow­er applied to the prob­lem.  A v8 applied to a snow­blow­er might score a 2.5 (real­ly, I can think of big­ger engines that could be made into a snow­blow­er) but a v8 in a car is only a 0.5.
  2. Func­tion Fac­tor — FF (3): The over­pow­ered tool has to be able to per­form the func­tion for which it’s been fash­ioned.  Points can be assigned for speed and finesse as well as how you look doing it.  No tool is tru­ly cool with­out being functional.
  3. Oper­a­tor Dan­ger Fac­tor — ODF(3): A tool is more grunt wor­thy if it looks dan­ger­ous.  To pass the FF, it needs to have some safe mode of oper­a­tion, but lets face it: many tools are dan­ger­ous if mis­shan­dled and a tru­ly grunt-wor­thy tool is very dan­ger­ous if mishandled.
  4. Dis­cre­tionary Point — DP(1): Like the Gilbert Music Wierd­ness scale (on which this is based), the dis­cre­tionary point is here to cor­rect a per­ceived skew in the score by the scor­er.  The dis­cre­tionary point is award­ed to items that seem more grunt-wor­thy than their score would oth­er­wise indicate.

To give an exam­ple, in my post about the Gas Pow­ered Blender, it would receive a score of 5.5, in my opin­ion.  I’m giv­ing it 2 OPF points because while a chain­saw motor for blend­ing is cool, I can eas­i­ly imag­ine a host of oth­er pow­er sup­ply choic­es.  I’m giv­ing it 2 FF points because while it per­forms the blend­ing func­tion with aplomb once start­ed, I have observed sev­er­al Youtube videos of peo­ple hav­ing dif­fi­cul­ty start­ing the rig — which is also my expe­ri­ence of chain­saw engines.  Maybe an elec­tric start?  Then I’m giv­ing it one ODF point because while it is using gaso­line, it appears to be fair­ly safe and sim­ple to oper­ate.  I’m then giv­ing it half a dis­cre­tionary point because it is cool and mass-pro­duced none-the-less.

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