My All-time Favourite Eight-word English-language Phrase

15 Mar

has got to be this:

This is a Piccadilly Line service for Cockfosters.

I could write for pages about why it’s so awesome (but I won’t, mostly because it’s so obvious but mostly because I’m so lazy). Some people use motivational posters and quote-of-the-day calendars as a source of inspiration to help them get through difficult times, but not me. All I need is that robot lady with the British accent telling me where I am (Piccadilly Line) and which direction I am heading (Cockfosters).

Most people don’t know where they are and they definitely don’t know where they’re going. This is a huge problem. Think of all those thousands of Canadian Civil Servants who have spent the better part of the last twenty-five years trying to procure aircraft for our military and coastguard. It must be absolutely soul-crushing to spend the most productive third of your life, day in and day out asking the same questions, “Did the helicopters come in yet?”, “Any word on the helicopters?”, and “I had to go to the toilet and I saw Shaun from receiving called. Do you think we got the shipment of helicopters we ordered?”

When taxpayers complain about government procurement they focus on the financial cost. This doesn’t concern me. Newsflash – the system was not designed with cost-savings in mind. What concerns me is all these people who are forced* to work on these endless**, meaningless*** projects for years and years. In the damage assessments that inevitably follow these failed programs, no one ever takes into account the toll on these broken people. If they did, the report would be even that much more depressing.



* If you think they can just quit, I have another eight-word phrase for you: “Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha! Ha!”

** Still no helicopters.

*** If the core objectives (i.e. procurement and helicopters) of the project don’t end up happening, it’s a pointless exercise.

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