During the French Revolution the officers of a large Parisian company were arrested, indicted, tried and found guilty of "crimes against the people." The sentence for all of them was to be death by the guillotine.

On the day of the execution the charges were repeated and one by one, each was called up by the executioner to pay the price. The first was the president of the company. When the executioner asked "Do you want a shroud?" - he defiantly replied that he was not a coward and didn't need a shroud - in fact, he was prepared to face the guillotine face up. Somewhat surprised, the executioner agreed to the unusual arrangement, placed his neck in the guillotine and proceeded to pull the trigger chord. The blade raced toward the man's neck and suddenly stopped about an inch before it met flesh. The executioner, the prosecutor and the watching crowd were astonished. They had never seen anything like this before. Finally, after regaining his composure, the Chief Prosecutor announced that this was obviously an act of God - direct proof that the man was in fact innocent after all, and that he was free to go.

Then the second company officer, this time the VP of Marketing, was called to meet his fate. Not one to be outclassed by his boss, he too, when asked if he wanted a shroud, announced that he would face the blade face up. Once again, when the trigger was pulled, the blade raced toward his neck and stopped about one inch above. And, once again, after the shock subsided, the Chief Prosecutor announced that the man was to be freed since God had clearly intervened.

Finally the third company officer, the VP of Engineering was brought to the execution platform. And, as the President and VP of Marketing had done before him, he refused the shroud and chose to face the blade. Once he had been secured in the apparatus and just as the Executioner was about to pull the trigger, he yelled out "WAIT!". "STOP!" The Executioner paused momentarily and as the hushed crowd listened as the engineer pointed to a small flaw in the blade rail and said "I think I found the problem."

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