Jumping to Conclusions

USS Texas

Frank Koch wrote in the magazine Proceedings, the magazine of the Naval Institute:

Two battleships assigned to the training squadron had been at sea on maneuvers in heavy weather for several days. I was serving on the lead battleship and was on watch on the bridge as night fell. The visibility was poor with patchy fog, so the captain remained on the bridge to watch all activities.

Shortly after dark, the lookout on the wing of the bridge reported, “Light bearing on the starboard bow.”

“Is it steady or moving astern?” the captain called out.

Lookout replied, “Steady, captain,” which meant we were on a dangerous collision course with that ship.

The captain then called to the signalman, “Signal that ship: We are on a collision course, advise you change course 20 degrees.”

Back came a signal, “Advisable for you to change course 20 degrees.”

The captain said, “Send, I’m a captain, change course 20 degrees.”

“I’m a seaman second class,” came the reply. “You had better change course 20 degrees.”

By that time, the captain was furious. He spat out, “Send, I’m a battleship. Change course 20 degrees.”

Back came the flashing light, “I’m a lighthouse.”

We changed course.

Sometimes, things aren’t what they appear to be. It may be the obvious answer isn’t the correct answer. When I was a child, I loved the Lone Ranger and Tonto jokes. Here is my favorite:

The Lone Ranger and Tonto went camping in the desert. After they got their tent all set up, both men fell sound asleep. Some hours later, Tonto wakes the Lone Ranger and says,

“Kemo Sabe, look towards sky, what you see?”

The Lone Ranger replies, “I see millions of stars.”

“What’s that tell you?” asked Tonto.

The Lone Ranger ponders for a minute, then says, “Astronomically speaking, it tells me there are millions of galaxies and potentially billions of planets. Astrologically, it tells me that Saturn is in Leo. Time-wise, it appears to be approximately a quarter past three in the morning. Theologically, the Lord is all-powerful, and we are small and insignificant. Meteorologically, it seems we will have a beautiful day tomorrow. What’s it tell you, Tonto?”

Tonto replied, “Kemo Sabe, it tells me you dumber than buffalo. It means someone stole our tent.”

This week, let’s be careful to listen and watch and not jump to conclusions!

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