In the Summer of 1970, I had the task of leading the Commerce
Department group creating the National Oceanic and Atmospheric
Administration (NOAA) and since there was no one yet in charge, I somehow served as acting head or at least as prime fire-fighter.
My phone rang.
I: This is Steve Schanes.
ADMIRAL X: SCHANES, THIS IS ADMIRAL X______. @#$$$%*&!!! YOU WILL MOVE ONE OF YOUR SHIPS IMMEDIATELLY, NOW! I’M SENDING CAPTAIN Y_____ OVER TO YOUR OFFICE. YOU CAN EXPECT HIM IN ONE HOUR!
I: (Slowly and very calmly) Admiral, let me tell you what’s going on. You see, the Department of Commerce and the Department of Interior have this competition- we’re both trying to find oil. Not that we’re supposed to, but it certainly would help our PR and maybe our budget, if we could find oil. Our weather ships are trying to beat out Interior’s boats- and we’re trying real hard.
Well, the fact is that we can’t find any oil. And if we can’t find the oil, I really don’t think that there’s any chance of our finding anything that you might
be concerned with. But, you know that if one of our ships suddenly changes from its pre-planned route, somebody you don’t like might notice that and ask himself why. So my suggestion is that we don’t do anything about it.
ADMIRAL X: (pause) RIGHT! (click)
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