Seven phases to a (spider’s) project

One of my memories of my dad, Roy Gerard, has to do with the work that he did as a consultant. He frequently was called upon to do economic impact studies and demographic studies for governments or for private businesses that wanted to complete projects. Projects might include new schools, shopping malls, farmers markets, apartment complexes, or other such things that are big and involve lots of money. 

When my dad learned about the seven phases to a project, he had a calligrapher make a poster with all seven phases. Those phases were actually hilarious, probably because they were accurate. The projects always sounded like great ideas, but the implementation turned out to be fraught with melodrama and personality conflicts. I don’t know what happened to the poster, but I found the seven phases to a project on line. I decided, for a little fun, to apply those phases to the construction of a spider’s web.
Phase One: Enthusiasm. The spiders have a talk and decide that one of them will build the biggest web ever. This web will catch more flies and will be stronger than any spider web ever seen. It will be magnificent and even humans will come and pay homage to the Great Spider Web. All spiders decide to be the Big Bosses of the Project.

Phase Two: Disillusionment. The one spider that is designated to build the strongest web ever realizes that she is all alone in this major project and that, because she didn’t built any web yet, she has no flies to eat. She grows hungry and sad. The Big Bosses grow bored and start eating slow moving insects that get in their way. They eat no flies because flies are too fast for them to catch without a web.

Phase Three: Panic and hysteria. Spiders run around in circles, wondering what happened to the major spider web. The construction is proceeding so slowly. They get together and weep over the flies that they did not catch and they write poetry about the lost flies.

Phase Four: Search for the guilty. Construction is still proceeding slowly. The spider that is working the hardest on the project is criticized and is told that she is a bad spider and that she is probably really a fly in disguise.

Phase Five: Panic. Will the spider web ever be built or are the spiders doomed to never enjoy again enjoy the sweet flavor of a well wrapped fly? The spiders give in to despair and they start composing odes and laments about the lost flies.

Phase Six: Punishment of the innocent. A random spider, wandering the garden, receives a cruel punishment for not building a web, even though she never knew that there was supposed to be a web. The bosses of the project decide to pick their victim at random.

Phase seven: Praise and honor for the nonparticipants. Despite all of the melodrama, the Big Project is finally completed. The spider web is a beautiful work of engineering genius. Everyone is happy, except for the flies that get bedazzled by the beauty and caught in the web.

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