Tuesday, July 14, 2009

FUNdamentals -- The Doctor, the Lawyer and the Engineer

During the French Revolution, a doctor, a lawyer, and an engineer were arrested, put on trial and convicted  of "crimes against the state." A hooded executioner led them up the stairs and left them to standing near the guillotine. The crowd roared -- they wanted blood.

The executioner grabbed the doctor and positioned his head in the guillotine. An official read the declaration of guilt: "You profited from the illness of others. Off with your head!" The executioner yanked the rope. The blade hissed downward -- then stuck just inches from the doctor's neck.

"Fate has saved this man for a reason!" said the official. "He is free!"

The crowd screamed, bitterly disappointed. The executioner pushed the lawyer's neck into place. The official read the declaration: "You persecuted the innocent and coddled the guilty. Off with your head!" The executioner pulled the rope. The blade plummeted through the wooden guides, gathering speed -- then stopped just inches from the lawyer's neck. Again, fate had intervened, and the official released the prisoner.

The crowd surged toward the platform, screaming, hurling rocks at the engineer who pulled the official aside and said, "You know, I can fix that."