Or do you think maybe he was being polite?

Flashback to 1984, when this sysadmin pilot fish is working for a high-tech startup. Yes, Virginia, they did have high-tech startups back then -- but things were a little different.

For example: "To preserve venture capital, the printing consoles on our VAXen doubled as 17-in. line printers," fish reports.

"One weekend, when I was in spinning backup tapes, our finance guy popped into the computer room with a request. He just wanted a couple of blank sheets of 17-in. greenbar paper to do some hand calculations on.

"The box of paper under the console was full, so he couldn't get to the bottom of the stack. He didn't want to tear off a couple of sheets from beneath it and then have to figure out how to re-thread the paper into the printer. There were no other boxes of paper in the computer room. Could I help him?

"How many sheets do you want? I asked. Three, he said.

"I pressed the form-feed button three times, tore the paper off at the perforation, and handed it to him.

"He hadn't thought of that."

Sharky wants you to think about your true tale of IT life -- then send it to me at sharky@computerworld.com. You'll score a sharp Shark shirt if I use it. Add your comments below, and read some great old tales in the Sharkives.

The Best of Shark Tank includes more than 70 tales of IT woe submitted by you, our readers, since 1999. Which all goes to prove, conclusively, that hapless users and idiotic bosses are indeed worldwide phenomena. Free registration is all that's needed to download The Best of Shark Tank (PDF).

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