The Tale of the Collapsible Camouflaged Bullet-proof Heat-seeking Table
The Army needs a new table. Not just any table. An ARMY table!
The young colonel George Yates was put in charge of the project. He dutifully and enthusiastically contacted several carpenters and got bids for the project. Most bids said 2 weeks of work and $12 in supplies. The best bid said 2 weeks of work and $10 in supplies and it was selected.
Two weeks later Col. Yates showed up and the carpenter and was informed that the price of wood had increased so the carpenter was only able to get 5/6 of the wood needed and therefore needed $2 more and 1 week of work. Disappointed, Col Yates agreed.
Wednesday the following week Major General Bennington heard about the nearly read Army table and thought it would be more useful if it was a 6 person table instead of a 4 person table. Since Major General Bennington gave Major General Graves (Col. Yates's commanding officer) valuable input on the amphibious grill project, Col. Yates was ordered to make the change. Slightly frustrated Col. Yates talked to the carpenter who agrees to make the changes, but requires 3 weeks and $14 more. Since it is an order from his CO Col. Yates agreed.
With one week to go on the project, Brigadier General Arlington, who coordinated Army logistics , reminded Col. Yates that Army regulations require that the table be collapsible in order to be transported on current Army vehicles. Slightly panicked Col. Yates immediately contacted the carpenter and asked for the table to be collapsible. However, the carpenter did not know how to do that and Col. Yates is forced to hire an engineer. The engineer said it will take 4 weeks and $16 to make the 6-person table collapsible.
Four weeks later the 6-person collapsible Army table was nearly ready for testing and Lieutenant General Hoynes, who used to work in the field, was very impressed. He sent out a memo stating so and mentioned how useful it would be if the table were camouflaged. This memo gained a lot of popularity among Col. Yates' superiors and a small committee was formed to investigate the viability of the idea. Despite loud protest from Col. Yates the project was put on hold for 5 weeks pending their findings. Six weeks later the committee concluded that painting the 6-person collapsible Army table with camouflage colors was a great idea and that if the table was also bullet-proof it could be used as cover in the event of enemy contact. Completely flustered Col. Yates talked to the carpenter and the engineer. He was informed that neither the carpenter nor the engineer were certified Army camouflage painters and he had to hire a painter who reported it will take 6 weeks to paint and $20 in materials. In order to make the table bulletproof Col. Yates had to hire a steel worker who needed 7 weeks and $22 in materials. The carpenter was now superfluous, but was hired for the entire project and therefore just makes scale models.
Thirteen weeks later an elated Col. Yates was ready to present the 6-person collapsible camouflaged bullet-proof Army table to his superiors. All the superiors were very impressed and order testing to begin immediately.
One of the people present at the presentation was an aid to Major General Olson, from the air force, who had, unsuccessfully, been trying to fund a new type of heat-seeking missile and Major General Graves owed him big-time for the miniaturized 10-meter flagpole project. Col. Yates was subsequently ordered to include the heat-seeking technology in the table with the reasoning being that soldiers using the table for cover could use the technology to pin-point the enemy's location. Dejectedly Col. Yates returned to his team and gave the order. The engineer could make the adjustments, but it required consulting with the engineer on the heat-seeking missile project as well as $24 in materials and 8 weeks of work. Additionally, for book-keeping purposes the budget deficit on the heat-seeking missile project, $1000, was transferred to the table project since it was seen as a consulting fee.
Ten weeks later a highly paranoid Col. Yates hosted and exclusive and secret meeting to present the 6-person collapsible camouflaged bullet-proof heat-seeking Army table to his superiors. They are all very impressed and order immediate production, despite testing showing that the 2000 pound table could not stand on its own, required a team of engineers 6 hours to set up and occasionally bursts into flames.
And that is story about how 2 week $10 project turned into a 39 week $3284 project :-)
Inspired by The Pentagon Wars movie.