BOFH 2000: Episode 14
So the PFY and I are having a chuckle at Microsoft's Anti-Piracy Message in Popular Soap Opera Initiative when we see a disturbing sight. No, not a development license for OS2 software signed by The Boss, Even worse...
"Who's that then?" the PFY asks, indicating a young suited lad industriously engaged in checking the speed setting of his naso-anal interface with The Boss.
"Looks disgustingly like one of the 'new breed' of techos," I respond, "judging by the well pressed suit, the belt that matches the shoes, AND the ostentatiously silk tie.."
"What's he want?"
"MY guess is he's some protg of The Boss's - mowed his lawns as a kid or something - who's worked his way through college and considers himself a dab hand at computing. In fact, I'd go so far as to say that The Boss is grooming him for the vacancy in IT."
"There's no vacancy in IT!"
"Oh, didn't I tell you?" I comment. "You're about to be let go. Something to do with unprofessional conduct."
"Yes, apparently they think that you throwing that Beancounter's monitor out the window was a little over the top."
"I was degaussing it by moving it through a static magnetic field."
"Static Magnetic field?"
"The Earth's Magnetic field!"
"Of course. However, I think the bit they objected to was that it was tied to the beancounter concerned."
"It got caught on his clothing!"
"Caught with a double reef knot?"
"I don't know anything about that" he lies unconvincingly. "Anyway, how do YOU know about it?"
"I happened to receive a piece of misaddressed email on the subject."
"Misaddressed to whom?"
"And how's that misaddressed?"
"In the manner that anything you want kept secret shouldn't be addressed to the CEO."
"Ah. So what's it to be?"
"High Jump for you, I'm afraid - Not quite as high as The Beancounter's was mind - and you won't be landing heavily amongst monitor parts on the top of a heavy freight vehicle - but a high jump nonetheless. And then I'll have the pleasure of the new guy's company till he decides to further his career elsewhere."
"So I should reapply for the contract in two weeks?"
"One week should be sufficient."
So sure enough, it happens - the PFY gets to go to an INTERVIEW from which he doesn't return. And in his place I get a kid so shiny and new he almost smells of furniture polish. And dead keen to make an impression - and not on the footpath outside, sadly.
"Hi, I'm David - I've just finished a degree in Computing and Networking and am really keen to put it into practice!" he chirps, grasping me enthusiastically by the hand.
"I know you guys have been at the Rock Face for ages, but hopefully I can bring you up to speed with the fantastic advances in technology in the ten or so years since you last visited the industry."
I stifle the feelings of nausea and ill-will and indicate that he should follow me to visit a few clients - that should put the fear of God into him. First stop, the Serial Whiner, to break his spirit. I mention he should make a minor alteration to her machine, (ie. move the mouse), which'll mean the next 1000 problems she has will be his fault.
Phase Two is to get him some unsolvable technical problem which will stress him out majorly.
"...and it just crashes all the time!" the user burbles.
"Well it's funny you should mention that, because a Windows Professional magazine that I was reading just yesterday says that the leading cause of crashes is installation of pirated software. You don't insta..
WE INTERRUPT THIS EPISODE FOR A SUBLIMINAL MESSAGE FROM PARTS OF THE SOFTWARE VENDING COMMUNITY.
PFY: Gosh, I think Software Piracy is bad, and would not like to think that someone who pirates software would associate themselves with my fictitious character. Especially Microsoft Products. That will be 1000 quid please.
Bastard: Me too
Boss: Me too
PFY: Who cares what you think? You're an extra that needs replacing. Get us a coffee and be snappy about it!
WE NOW RETURN YOU TO THE STORYLINE IN A MANNER THAT OBSCURES THE SUBLIMINAL MESSAGE TO YOUR CONSCIOUS MIND, WHILE SIMULTANEOUSLY BRINGING IT TO THE FOREFRONT OF YOUR SUBCONSCIOUS (BUY COKE!) THOUGHTS
..ll Pirated software?"
"No," the user lies.
"Change any of your system settings?"
"Never!" he continues, pinocchioing away
"Well, quite frankly I'm stumped then. It could be a bad application, but in my final year I did a paper of software testing standards, and I can assure you very little is released in the market that hasn't undergone stringent testing."
The nausea I was feeling before increases somewhat. He's so green he needs pruning!
Even worse, he's conscientious and punctual and my best efforts at dissuading him from staying with the company appear to be ineffectual - he's completely devoted to the intricacies of solving computing problems. My main concern now is that the users are going to expect the same service level from me - wandering up to their office every time they've stuffed about with their monitor settings or changed their default paper type.
It's not going to happen! Even accidentally trapping his tie in the door so that his arm was just out of reach of the swipe card reader doesn't work. Still cheery, still happy to meet any technical problem head-on. HAS THIS MAN NO ACHILLES HE..
Of course! Why I never thought of it before is beyond me!
"So," I murmur, sidling up to him in Mission Control and introduce a topic close to his heart if my observations are correct, "making a VERRRRY good impression on the secretary, I see."
"Really? She told me to stop pissing around with her printer."
"Smokescreen. She knows what workplace gossip is like and wants to throw us off the scent - surely you noticed?"
Two days later...
"So how DID you get him to email nudey snaps of himself to her?" the PFY asks.
"Just told him that as an artist she appreciates the male form and mentioned she'd probably be quite impressed with someone who could scan such stuff. As expected, like most of these Nuevo-techs who spend most of their lives inside computing labs and outside of the real world, he had absolutely no idea of the fine line between tasteful and tacky."
"So he's gone then - dismissed?"
"Even better, awaiting trial for exposing himself in a RailTrack Photobooth."
"Yeah well, I told him that the first set were probably not 'gritty' and raw enough for her."
"Don't you forget it!" ®