There is a little poem, well known in the service, which recounts the progress of an order from its origin by the captain, on down. It passes through various officers and petty officers to the individual or individuals who should have carried it out, but who did not, because each person in the chain simply “passed the word” and let it go at that.
It is a true little poem, with a worth while moral, which we all “get.” But the moral has a fallacy—a pitfall—into which we all too often tumble. Let us, for example, see how the order in the poem would have been carried out if everyone had known the moral beforehand, and had borne it in mind.
The captain gives the order. It falls, in the poem, under the Bureau of Construction and Repair presumably because the first lieutenant is the goat so often in real life. Bearing that in mind, he (the first lieutenant) further promulgates the order, not only by written memo to the officer of the deck, but likewise by personal verbal instructions. Probably he adds suggestions and modifications, later, as these occur to his anxious mind.