Okay, this post is for my regular readers who might think this was kind of nifty. As you know, the Panama Canal is one of my favourite project management stories. You know that recently I made a nifty little video on the subject, heavily (heavily) paraphrasing what I took away from Tom Kendrick’s excellent essay.
As you also know, my dad’s cousin passed away recently.
Well, I just came home for Easter to spend some non-funereal time with the folks, where we weren’t surrounded by crying people and sadness. Also, at Easter we can get away with wearing stretchy pants. My dad’s the executor of his cousin’s estate, and since the funeral my parents have been poring through papers and boxes, trying to make sure everything’s all neatly squared away.
Well look at what they found (click for a larger view):
It’s an actual stock certificate for Ferdinand de Lesseps’ failed attempt at building the Panama Canal, signed by Ferdy himself! The dates on the stamps are in 1892, so this must have been issued during his last ditch effort to keep his project going, before collapsing into bankruptcy.
My Dad hadn’t seen my video yet so he was like, “can you imagine what this would be worth today?” I think he was a little crestfallen when I told him it was actually from the failed attempt and the company that issued it went belly up, and the project caused the French government to collapse.
Then I showed him my little video and he really liked it, until he got to the part where I said Ferdy went home just in time for the French Revolution. He completely mocked me, informing me that the French Revolution was in the late 1700s, and that perhaps if I’d paid a little more attention in history class, I’d know that. He then called me a “Nummy”. Turns out I was a little, um, mistaken, when I assumed the fall of the French government was related. LOL In Dad’s words, “whaddya stoopid? The French Revolution was just a little bigger than the government running an unpopular deficit.”
Goddam know-it-all retired schoolteachers.
Anyway, I just thought this was an incredibly nifty find, and I wanted to share it with all of you who’ve been reading regularly. Thanks tons, guys!