Back in the 1980s I presented several sales training workshops for the transparency division of Pittsburgh Plate Glass (PPG). PPG made airline windshields and windows as well as military aircraft canopies. The sales force was fascinating — just a few people covered the world. I’d see one of them on an airline and ask where he was going. “Oh,” he’d say, “Oslo, then on to Rome and Berlin. Where are you going, Ralph?” I’d hang my head a bit, shuffle my feet and say, “Aw, just Kansas City.”
The sales manager gave me a tour of the factory. To my surprise, he even told me about the cannon they had that shot dead chickens at windshields in tests. “We don’t tell many people about that, lest the animal rights fanatics jump down our throat, but you’re a special case.”
“Special case,” huh? I liked that.
Later he showed me a small room containing two yellow saw horses, across which was placed a clear military canopy. On the wall in front of the canopy was a large black and white grid. A person could stick his head up into the canopy and look through the canopy at the grid. If the canopy had a flaw, the grid showed it big time,
Then he took me to a similar room that had a sign on the door saying, “SECRET— DO NOT ENTER.”
He said, again, “This is really top secret. This is where we test the windshield for the Stealth Fighter, but don’t tell a soul.” The Stealth Fighter was a big secret at that time. Everybody knew about it, but nobody knew what it looked like.
My eyes musta bugged out of my head as he opened that door. This being special was great.
Y’all, in that room was the big grid and the two sawhorses, but — talk about stealth — I couldn’t even see the canopy. I was dumbfounded.
Then I looked at the sales manager. He was grinning like an idiot, and I instantly realized that there was no canopy. This entire room was a hoax set up just to make fools of “special” people.
I laughed my fool head off.