A battleship had been at sea on its routine manoeuvres under heavy weathers for days. The captain, who was worried about the deteriorating weather conditions late in day, stayed on the bridge to keep an eye on all activities.
Later that night, the lookout on the bridge shouted, “Captain! A light, bearing on the starboard bow.”
“Is it stationary or moving astern?” the captain asked.
The lookout replied, “Stationary, sir.”
This meant the battleship was on a dangerous collision course. The captain immediately ordered his signalman to signal: “We are on a collision course. I advise you to change course 20 degrees east.”
Back came the response: “You should change course 20 degrees west.”
Agitated by the arrogance of the response, the captain commanded his signalman to shoot out another message: “I am a captain, you change course 20 degrees east.”
Back came the second response: “I am a second class seaman, you had still better change course 20 degrees west.”
This response infuriated the captain even more. He barked at the signalman to send a final message: “I am the captain of the largest. battleship in the US Navy. Change your course 20 degrees east right now.”
Back came the flashing response: “I am a lighthouse.”
The captain paused for what seemed like minutes. “Change course,“ he yelled angrily.
I will revisit this story in an upcoming blog post.