Notes on "The Bakery Incident"

My father's big brother was an engineer. He was an exemplar for me when I was a youngster. I used to love talking to him about technical matters. Especially, but not exclusively electronics, which in those days, went by the name of the primary application; "radio" or "wireless". Looking back, I think that a large part of his time at extended family gatherings was taken up avoiding me so that he could catch a chance to engage in conversation about something else.

Later, I became an engineer myself so that gave us something in common. He made a remark once about something fictional that I had written, suggesting that the ability to do this was not expected in an engineer. I remember discussion this with my father, who is not an engineer, but is a writer of fiction. I rejected my uncle's notion of the engineer's writing ability. "An engineer has to document his work. He has to write reports. Often some diplomacy is required, and he must be an accomplished fiction writer", I told my dad.

As my uncle had spent a portion of his career working for a manufacturer of large ovens for commercial bread bakeries, I chose this as a context for an example of engineer's report writing.

At the time I wrote this, my uncle fell ill. I sent it to him, and my cousin read it to him. Unfortunately, he did not recover, and I didn't see him again. I hope he enjoyed it.

I have found that this particular story is very suitable for changing the names. Over the years, I have sent it to many people with the names of the characters changed to those of acquaintances.