Celeste Roberts posted the following comment in an earlier thread, and it’s too good to get lost in the comments section. It deserves recognition on its own.
Captain Rainwater of the MMSD Intrepid, renowned ’round the world for his feckless bravery and singlemindedness, stands at the helm of his beloved vessel and surveys the icy waters ahead.
A crew member approaches. “Captain, sir, we’ve just received an urgent radio message. Satellite photos show us bearing down on a large iceberg, and nearby ships respectfully asking us if we are monitoring this?” Captain growls, “Well, what do the instruments show?” “Nothing, sir.” Captain, glaring, “Well, what are you standing there for? Back to your post.” “But sir, what shall I tell the other ships?” “Tell??? Tell them NOTHING,” roars the captain. Some moments later, a loud cry is heard. “Ahoy! Iceberg spotted ahead.” Soon the deck is filled with sailors scanning the foggy seas ahead. The Captain impassively stands at the helm, maintaining his course. “Captain, what shall we do? Why don’t you turn the ship, call for help?” cries one sailor, despairing at the Captain’s apparent lack of reaction to the impending disaster.
Aroused from his reverie, the Captain surveys the crowd of panicked sailors surrounding him. “D’ya all see that iceberg there?” “Yes, oh yes,” the moan rises. “I’ll show you what I’m gonna do. Look, here, I’ll make the iceberg vanish. This is a brand-spankin’ new magnetic/chemical invisibility screen. The latest technology right here on our ship.” Captain holds up a large black box with a big button on it that says ‘PRESS ME.’
“Now in order for this here gadget to work properly, I gotta have your full cooperation. Everyone close your eyes and repeat after me while I fire this baby up: There is no iceberg. There is no iceberg. There is no iceberg….Good” As the crew obediently repeats the mantra, Captain Rainwater aims the box at the looming iceberg, presses the button, and incredibly, it disappears. “O.K., you can all open your eyes, now. Look, is the iceberg gone?”
Astonished murmurs fill the deck. They all crane their necks, but the iceberg is nowhere to be seen. Just then, the same timid crewman whom we first encountered bringing the Captain bad news at the beginning of our tragic tale, approaches the Captain again. “Sir, I’ve just gotten another message from the other ship. They are tracking our approach to the iceberg and respectfully are asking if, ah, if you are out of your mind. Sir, if I might make a suggestion, it is conceivable that our instruments are not operating properly.” Another sailor approaches from the other side. “Well, what is it?” barks Captain. “Sir, beggin’ your humble pardon, but I’m alooking and looking where that iceberg was, and I think I can still see it a bit. It’s kinda hidden, but when I really look hard I can see it behind sort of a silvery screen. I think maybe it IS still there.”
The Captain turns toward him, black rage filling his eyes. “So, you see the iceberg. Look carefully now. Do you see it now?” “Um, yyyyes, sir. It’s over there.” With a quick movement, the Captain shoves the hapless sailor overboard. In a matter of seconds, he sinks below the waves and is drowned. “Hm! Problem solved. Now you don’t see it anymore. Anyone else still seeing that iceberg?” In unison, a chorus from the terrified crew, “No, SIR!” …..
How can we turn this story around? Maybe a mutiny by the ship’s officers? Put the Captain off in a lifeboat and quickly change course?