Sunday, August 29, 2010
00444 The TP 1x
A short excerpt from Ben Gingernut's new book "Penknives and Cockpits":
'In 1957 Geoff "Yaegermeister" Benton was searching for inspiration to drive forward a project code named "TP-1x". As he drove home one dusky spring evening, he passed a local school where two of the kids were playing with a stick, pretending it was a plane and throwing it from one to the other. Like a bolt of lightning striking him in the cerebellum, he knew what he had to do. He raced home and, without even answering his wife Brenda's greetings, he set to work in his study, slaving feverishly through he night, and well into the next day, ignoring calls from his office when he failed to show for work. He returned to work later on that afternoon rushing straight into his supervisor's glass fronted cubicle and waving aside his superior's anger at his late arrival. Ignoring the room's other occupants, his boss's 4 o'clock, he announced his breakthrough to an increasingly open-mouthed audience. When he was finished, everyone was silent. No one could quite take in the depth of his new discovery or the implications of what it would hold for he future of aviation. Work started almost immediately and within two months the prototype TP-1x rolled off the production line.
The euphoria didn't last long.
The paint wasn't even dry when the news came in. Everyone was devastated. No one could quite believe that they could have raised their expectations so high, only to have them dashed so brutally. In their excitement to go ahead with the project, especially in light of Geoff's ground-breaking discovery, they had overlooked one vital element in the complexity of the development. It turned out that the TP-1x, which on paper had seemed like the answer to all their prayers, was in fact only 4 inches long and made of sticks.
Geoff was inconsolable and two weeks after the discovery, he left his wife and drove off into the night. No one ever saw him again, but the next day his Brenda found his mini-leatherman lying on the sofa with a note. It read simply,