An Inquest into the Aftermath of the Humpty-Dumpty Affair

fundraw-dot-com-humpty-dumpty-2-800pxDeposition of General Jabberwocky, July 19, ’17.

Inquisitor: Can you recreate the tragic moment for us?

General J: Suddenly Humpty began flailing his arms like counter-rotating propellers – then SPLAT!!

Inquisitor: Just like that?

General J: Well, yes but balancing a round shell atop a thin brick wall does requires a level of coordination that Humpty simply didn’t have after downing a half-pint of rum.

Inquisitor: Rum?

General J: He had been drinking – but no more than any other aging celebrity.

Inquisitor: Then you attribute his demise to inebriation?

General J: Not entirely, He was vigorously waving a flag but yes, his shape was most certainly a factor

Inquisitor: (shuffling papers) What happened next?

General J: Bedlam and chaos ensued. The Queen trilled. A maid shrieked and the King muttered, ‘Oh, bother!’

Inquisitor: Did either the King or Queen issue orders at that time?

General J: Yes, the Queen issued a verbal command that ‘All the king’s horses and all the king’s men put Humpty-Dumpty together again’

Inquisitor: Did anyone question the utility of employing so many resources?

General J: No. It is not the military’s role to question orders. Besides the queen has quite a nasty temper and I doubt it would have done much good.

Inquisitor: What then?

General J: After cordoning off the scene, my staff convened a conference on how best to carry out the mission.

Inquisitor: Did you or anyone on your staff calculate a cost/benefit analysis at that time?

General J: No

Inquisitor: Did anyone author a risk analysis?

General J: No one.

Inquisitor: Or produce a business plan, project schedule or a time and materials estimate?

General J: No sir.

Inquisitor: (exasperated) Then how did you proceed?

General J: We divided the scene into grids and assigned each grid to a platoon.

Inquisitor: And the horses.

General J: (mumble)

Inquisitor: Speak up, General.

General J: We rode them around in circles, per the Queen’s mandate to involve them.

Inquisitor: Let’s cut to the chase. When did you first question whether success was achievable?

General J: (studies his notes)

Inquisitor: Allow me to fill you in, it was three years later at a cabinet meeting with the Prime Minister. Correct?

General J: Yes, the Prime Minister.

Inquisitor: And you told him what?

General J: I expressed my doubts about continuing to involve ALL the king’s horses and ALL the kings men in the project.

Inquisitor: And at that time, the project still had no plan, no cost analysis, no risk analysis and no accountability whatsoever?

General J: Yes, but I wouldn’t put it like that.

Inquisitor: And how did the Prime Minister respond?

General J: He explained that a busy army was a happy army.

Inquisitor: And?

General J: He noted that the guilds were happy building barracks for the troops and stables for their mounts.

Inquisitor: And?

General J: And the burgers were happy supplying porter, porridge and pies to the army.

Inquisitor: And?

General J: Even the clerics were happy selling indulgences because everyone was indulging themselves on their good fortune.

Inquisitor: Who were the happiest?

General J: Why, the bankers, of course.

Inquisitor: Did the Prime Minister indicate that anyone was unhappy?

General J: Not at that time.

Inquisitor: When did the Prime Minister realize that the peasants were unhappy with the project?

General J: Six months into the tax rebellion.

Inquisitor: Thank you, General. You have been very helpful. That concludes our inquest…

General J: For the record, allow me to reiterate that all the stakeholders expressed complete delight with our progress…..

Inquisitor: Guards, please escort the general back to his cell… and for heaven sake, do clean him up a bit.  He has egg on his face.

Author: Almost Iowa

41 thoughts on “An Inquest into the Aftermath of the Humpty-Dumpty Affair”

  1. That was painfully, tragically, realistic! Changes a few names, and initial or two, and this could be a B2 story on any major paper. Makes me almost miss the days of the $40 Air Force toilet seat 😉

    Loved it (but would love it more if it were less relatable).

  2. [Laughter and a knowing smirk from the peanut gallery…] My last job was application development for a Project Managment consulting firm, taking me into the bureaucracies of various companies. One of them was quasi-Federal Government, and oh my! Working in such an environment is not what it’s cracked up to be.

  3. Written like someone who has either worked for the armed services, the government, or a large corporation! (My husband is a CFO who has to deliver reports to the President and other company big shots a couple times a year. And on the last page of his report, he always includes a Dilbert cartoon, which he says sums up the situation far better than any numbers he can come up with.) A very funny post, with a whole lot of truth thrown in!

    1. I spent ten years working for the Minneapolis Police Department and another sixteen at the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension. Anyone who has read a John Sanford mystery would be familiar with the later.

  4. You confused me at first, with the description of Humpty Trumpty…er…Dumpty. But then you got back to familiar ground re: lack of accountability and government waste. Well done–made me laugh over my coffee!

    And yes, point taken. 😉

    1. Humpty Trumpty

      Now, now, Liz, we have all gotten our fingers whacked with a ruler for less. 🙂

      I often poke fun at the slavish adherence to mind-numbing methodologies we were forced to suffer at the state but then I note that Scott Adams was inspired to create Dilbert from his experience at Crocker State Bank and Pacific Bell.

    1. I have been advised by my former colleagues who were absorbed into the State of Minnesota’s central IT organization MNIT that the governor is frantically looking for more horses and more men to throw at MNSURE…. [snarf]

  5. What a fun post! Your imagination really took off with this one — to great effect.On the other hand, maybe it’s just as well. Mr. Dumpty had, shall we say, “tendencies.” Remember that conversation he had with Alice?

    ““When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less.” “The question is,” said Alice, “whether you can make words mean so many different things.” “The question is,” said Humpty Dumpty, “which is to be master—that’s all.”

    Every now and then, I swear I see old HD back on his wall. I could be wrong, of course.

    1. In a word, Humpty was the world’s first post-modern egg.

      Yes I know, I wrote “In a word” but in that instance, I chose the singular to mean the plural. I do things like that a lot and though it may confuse others, it does not confuse me at the time. It is only later that I find myself confusing myself.

  6. Nicely done! And do you know what? I’ve been googling since I read this and discovered that Humpty Dumpty wasn’t originally a political satire, though some claimed it to further their cause.

    1. You are right, Maggie. The original Humpty-Dumpty was not political, rather it was a critique on early project management methodologies. In the 1810 Garland version, only “Threescore men and threescore more” were required to do the job. In 1842 Halliwell version, the workforce climbed to “Forty Doctors and forty wrights”.

      By the late 20th century, using The Rational Unified Process (RUP) all of the King’s horses and all of the King’s men were required and by 2010, those resources must be allotted merely to write a Business Case.

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