October 1967, I was a Lieutenant Commander in Attack Squadron 196 flying
combat missions from USS Constellation into North Vietnam. Like all
naval aviators, I had a real job besides flying: I was the squadron's safety
officer. As such, I was responsible for safety awareness throughout the
squadron, including quality control (Q.C.) performed by our maintenance
personnel. One evening I sat down and wrote this poem to generate some
thought about quality control. LTJG John Casterline published a small
squadron newspaper every month or so, and he was always looking for material.
I gave him a copy of the poem hot out from under the pencil, and he ran with
it. I would like to think it served its purpose. Here it is.
The Ape, the Monk and the Chimpanzee
ape, the monk and the chimpanzee,
Set out one day to go to sea.
Since none could swim and none could float,
They all conspired to build a boat.
ape can build,” cried the chimpanzee,
“But Monk’s prime job will have to be,
Ensuring that this noble craft,
Is seaworthy from fore to aft."
I,” continued the chimpanzee,
“Will test it well to guarantee,
That once we are upon the drink,
Our valiant vessel will never sink.”
ape worked hard and rapidly,
While the monk checked each new plank to see,
That all was well and none were frail.
And soon the boat stood ready to sail.
chimp inspected their craft with glee,
Then waved his arm and put out to sea.
The boat moved thirteen feet in range,
When all three noticed something strange.
tell you guys,” said the chimpanzee,
“I’ve got a problem, as you can see.”
“For right here by my left foot’s sole,
There’s one salacious, great big hole.”
darn it, Monk,” cried the chimpanzee,”
“I thought you were doing our Q.C.”
“Don’t yell at me,” screamed Mister Monk,
“I didn’t build what’s getting sunk.”
“All right then, Ape,” gargled the chimpanzee,
“Why didn’t you build more carefully?”
“It’s not my fault,” said the ape—with a jerk,
“You two both checked on all my work.”
ape and the monk stared out to sea,
Where chimp and boat were supposed to be.
The ape said, “Yup, that’s a doggone shame,
But there’s just no one to really blame.”
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