WASHINGTON – Pentagon officials fired a senior bureaucrat after he accidentally made a decision, breaking decades of tradition and spurring fears that the building may become more efficient, sources confirmed today.
Donald Witherspoon, a Senior Executive Service (SES) civilian on the Army staff, began working at the Pentagon after he retired as a colonel weeks before he was supposed to deploy for the first time.
Sources say Witherspoon began his day like any other: by crying in the shower, screaming “you are a man” at his reflection in the bathroom mirror, and donning an ill-fitting suit before driving to work. Little did he know, his role in the Pentagon was about to come to an end.
The incident occurred when Witherspoon returned from a meeting and mistook a staff action packet for a coloring book. After keeping mostly within the lines, he was so pleased with himself that he signed the document and handed it to his executive officer. The unwitting bureaucrat became the first SES since 1952 to make a decision in the Pentagon.
“So many processes had to fail for this to happen,” said Witherspoon’s executive officer, Col. Stephen Newell. “This system is designed to delay decisions indefinitely … or at least spread risk among dozens of generals and SES’s so that no single leader can be held accountable.” After this revelation, blood trickled from Newell’s nose and he collapsed.
Dr. Jonathan Northfield, a Pentagon mathematician, was less surprised by the incident.
“It was a statistical eventuality … like the infinite monkey theorem,” said Northfield, referring to the theory where a monkey randomly hitting keys on a typewriter for an infinite amount of time will eventually churn out Shakespeare’s complete works. “Witherspoon was the monkey who accidentally wrote King Lear.”
A consulting firm has already offered Witherspoon a position to sit quietly at meetings and alternate facial expressions between a vacant smile and a concerned scowl for double his current salary.