The green box would be the football in this example

The green box would be the football in this example

A well-worn phrase in military life is “that looks like a monkey fucking a football.” It’s used when something looks wrong, or when one or more people are doing something that’s convoluted and prone to error. As pictured at left, yesterday’s scene at North Circle was the very definition of the term.

The unfortunate box at the center of the picture is a power distribution unit. One cable comes in from a generator, and other cables go out to various pieces of equipment (including the shelter truck in the background). Each connection on the box (six total) has a corresponding circuit breaker. There are only four cables connected to this particular box; one input and three outputs.

Despite the seeming simplicity of this setup, no fewer than ten people hovered around that damn thing, all talking simultaneously, for half an hour before figuring out how to make power go to the right places. I’d estimate that there was nearly two centuries of combined military service gathered there, which comes out to about fifty years of experience per power cable.