Tuesday, June 9, 2009

One Piece at a Time

One of my favorite Johnny Cash songs is "One Piece at a Time." 

For the uninitiated, the song tells the story of a guy - we'll call him "Barack" - who gets a job at General Motors building Cadillacs. He devises an elaborate plan to steal a car from his employer - who we'll call "General Motors" - by sneaking a different car part out each day inside his lunchbox. Barack says he's not a thief, and he rationalizes that General Motors won't really notice that some of its assets have gone missing if he only does a bit at a time.

Barack nabs the fuel pump and the shocks and all of the nuts and bolts, but soon finds his lunchbox inadequate. He enlists the use of his buddy's RV to help "sneak out" the larger pieces like the engine and transmission.

He's feeling pretty good about himself until he tries to put it all together and finds he has a bunch of mismatched parts that weren't designed to work together. Barack and his buddy make some modifications and wind up with a Frankencar with three headlights and one tail fin.

And that, my friends, is the Cliff Notes version of the demise of the once-fabled General Motors.

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