Pasha de Roos decides very early, it is the late 1800s, that he wants to become a pirate; a pirate captain, sans a wooden leg, eye-patch, bandana or even a pa-pa-parrot. Yeah! He loves turtles instead and there he goes, buying one old tortoise from a simpleton near the Tomato Market.
Oh, the Tomato Market is famous for many things like moringa, escarole, brussels sprouts, and you know…
Fredric-O, Ben, Pappy, Charles Vane, Jarrico and Inderpal are more or less ready to join Pasha de Roos’ troupe. He feels jittery these days, Pasha does, as he is not sure if this dream of his will ever come true.
Ignoring his family business of tomato farming is easy as his family has ousted him forever. Confident, Pasha is on the way back to his ancestral house to steal his great grandmother’s jewels, see, right, as otherwise how will he pay for the ship he bought last-to-last month from that simpleton?
Inderpal ditches Pasha de Roos; he weeps his heart out, but he, Inderpal, leaves nevertheless to work as a clerk in the town office. He promises to support Pasha de Roos emotionally.
Times are changing, pirating is not desired by many, this deadly joyful dangerous profession is dying, is dead already, say many sailors.
The simpleton before selling his ship shared such concerns about pirating with Pasha de Roos that a one-legged person with an eye patch and a parrot on his shoulder standing nearby died on the spot.
“Let us just go anyway, eh, let us just go anyway, eh, let us just go anyway, eh”, cries Pappy and the whole pub agrees with him. Pasha de Roos is addressing the wild crowd, hear him out once.
“Oh, come on, who says pirates are not reigning the seas anymore, eh, eh, who says the ocean bed has no riches, eh, eh, ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha.”
Everyone’s laughing now.
“Listen, tomorrow, I will file papers, me friend one clerk, old buddy, I say, let the clerks rule the seas on papery paper and we shall rule it for real, eh, eh, ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha… I will take stamped permission to sail, ay, we will leave tomorrow around the lunch break time, eh, eh, ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha.”
They have gone silent suddenly, the crowd.
And we time travel, it is 1955. Hmm!
Cyril Northcote Parkinson, a naval historian, has published an essay in The Economist. Pasha de Roos cannot, but we shall read about it now –
Parkinson’s law is the observation that public administration, bureaucracy and officialdom expands, regardless of the amount of work to be done. This is attributed mainly to two factors: that officials want subordinates, not rivals, and that officials make work for each other.
Cyril Northcote Parkinson gives, as examples, the growth in the size of the British Admiralty and Colonial Office even when the numbers of their ships and colonies are declining.
The growth is presented mathematically with the formula x=(2km+P)/n in which k is the number of officials wanting subordinates, m is the hours they spent writing minutes to each other and so on.– Parkinson’s Law, Wikipedia
Well, the Parkinson’s law can be applied in every situation, even in Pasha de Roos’. Pass it, pass it as a gossip or be direct, take it along, these calculation-free corollaries may guide him.
“Work complicates to fill the available time.”
“If you wait until the last minute, it only takes a minute to do.”– Parkinson’s Law, Wikipedia
Again, we time travel, back to Pasha de Roos’s world.
Ben, Pappy and Fredric-O have become Inderpal’s subordinate and they are all working as clerks. It is true, Jarrico shares with Pasha de Roos, telling him to set a deadline for his dream project.
A deadline!? A word unheard of, tickles the mind.
Confident that with so many of his buddies working as clerks, in tie-suit-boots, his one silly file with one silly paper – he really didn’t need the file, but that’s the fashion so – will be signed, stamped, signed, stamped and attested in a matter of minutes, yes, minutes that he reaches the office, look there he goes, laughing. ‘Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha!”
A queue here, a queue there, wrongly filled form, no fee paid, no number, no date… and there leaves Pasha de Roos, bent and late. Late simply to set sail.
After three years, on a bright day when a deadline is also set, with no confusion and dense clarity, they are meeting today to paint the boat (he sold the ship back to the simpleton and bought a small boat in exchange), who all you say, well, Jarrico, Charles Vane and Pasha de Roos.
But the bright day is turning now into a dark evening, yet they haven’t settled on the colour. Oh! And now five berserk by-passers are arguing fervently about Jarrico’s choice of colour and Charles Vane’s paint brush’s size.
Huff-huff! Amongst all these experts, no one budges.
Deadline dies alone.
There in the future Cyril Northcote Parkinson gives a fresh argument in 1957 via the law of triviality that people within an organization commonly or typically give disproportionate weight to trivial issues.
He dramatizes this “law of triviality” with the example of a committee’s deliberations on an atomic reactor, contrasting it to deliberations on a bicycle shed.
Pasha de Roos is working all by himself in the farm. His exhausted shoulders droop in the sun, he is crying. “No, eh, I am sweating, eh, come on.” Okay, right, when Jarrico joined the clerk culture he didn’t cry then, when Charles Vane became the boss of the clerks, he didn’t cry then, why will he do so now.
“Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha, I have a dream, yes, I will rule the Tomato Market. I have bought potato seeds and-aaaahhheeee.” Pasha de Roos’s great grandmother hits him with her sleek walking cane. She is in a good shape; look how she runs after him in the tomato farm. “Aaaahhhheee!”
Pasha de Roos, here ‘roos’ represents their family sign, that looks like a rose, and thus, the name ‘roos’ but was meant to be a tomato. Some painter got it wrong.
“No-no, it was my great, great, great Uncle Frye-aaahhheeee.”
- Darkness and Pleonasm
- Agnes Obel and The Narrative
- A Would-Be Pirate Pasha de Roos and the Parkinson’s Law
- Interviewing A Busy Ant