The newspaper is barely half read, the editorials are next along with all they have to say about the situation our modern world finds itself in. The coffee is drained though, so a walk to the kitchenette is in order, where a fresh cup can be obtained.
Sitting back down, and nestling into the padded office chair, there is an editorial about the disgraceful happenings in Syria. ‘It is dreadful what the Russians are doing there,’ our office worker thinks to himself as the opinion of the editorial slowly unfolds. Syria is something that interests him because the Russians are doing such terrible things there. He skips the bits about Iraq; the Russians aren’t there, so can’t do anything nasty.
He turns the page to find another story, one in which he can become engrossed. He finds that a good story takes a good twenty minutes, and three of them makes an hour drift by happily enough.
It’s really nice when the office is this quiet.
The telephone rings.
“Damn,” he says out loud, hating this kind of intrusion into his life. He sighs and on the fifth ring, he picks it up with a determination.
“Marketing,” he says into the mouthpiece. His mood evaporates in the space of a sentence spoken from the earpiece. He can’t understand it: are the sales department messing them around again?
“What the fuck do you mean it was our fucking fault?” he shouts, “what the fuck do you know about it? … That’s not a nice thing to say to the guys who get you all your leads … Fuck off! … MY HANDWRITING? … Don’t you use words like that to me … What the fuck do you mean, I just did … Is that what they told you? … Don’t you ever shout at me like that again: it’s their fucking – get the fuck out of here! … What kind of excuse is that? What about THEIR fucking compositor who can’t fucking read? … It’s their fault, make no mistake about it!”
He bangs the receiver down and thinks, ‘Fucking sales. Those fuckers at the web agency put the wrong effin’ telephone number on the ad. They messed up the effin’ email too. Oh, well. I’ll torture that effin’ web designer. It’s all his fault.’
That is the point, isn’t it? How would he have known if he hadn’t been told? If you’re not in the habit of looking for problems, those problems will happen and you’ll simply never know…
Now: even if he was angry with the messenger, it was still his fault. How could he know that some halfwit software designer couldn’t read his handwriting? It’s always painful to discover the truth, especially when your job depends on it.
Only when it’s your job to look out, it’s quite a different situation when the radar screens go blank.
Because that’s what happened in the Black Sea recently: the USS Donald Cook was overflown by two unarmed SU-24s. As they did so, all the electronic defence systems on the vessel were jammed. Every radar screen went blank. The aircraft then simulated a missile attack on the crippled warship.
Now, that’s not a very nice thing to do to the best navy in the world, is it? The Pentagon were really, really angry, calling it “provocative and unprofessional” to blank out their ‘state of the art’ Aegis system. The crew were so upset that all they wanted to do was to return to port. Twenty seven of them were so rattled by the experience that they wanted to leave the service.
Put it this way: if someone tells you that your system needs repairing, do please listen to them and make amends. If the Pentagon are reading this, please make sure you have truly state of the art defences for your warships and of course, some lifeboats.
[Apols in advance for the crummy computer-generated voiceover].