You know, urgent. That means eventually, right?

Help-desk pilot fish gets an urgent email: "Guys, can you please unlock my account!"

Sighs fish, "User is 400 miles away, I have no idea of what account to unlock, and there is no telephone number on the email. But I know her cube mate, so that's who I call."

Fish calls and explains to the cube mate that the user needs a password reset, but doesn't have a phone number to call to determine exactly what's needed.

Over the phone he can hear the cube mate -- "What's your telephone number?" -- and the problem user -- "I don't know, what's my telephone number?"

This is going to be painful, fish thinks. Then the cube mate hands the user the phone.

Hello, ma'am, fish says. What account needs to be unlocked?

"Mine," says user.

Yes ma'am, but what account is that? fish asks.

"The one I am using."

OK, fish thinks, try a different approach. Is it your Unix account?


Then which account is it?

"The one I'm trying to use."

And which account is that?

"The one that is locked."

Yeah, right. "By deduction, induction, process of elimination and blind luck I find an account that is locked," fish says. "It looks vaguely similar to the email from which the request was sent. I unlock that account.

"Then I send email to the user: 'Your account is unlocked.'

"Out of office reply: 'I am in a meeting.'

"I guess a fire is only a fire if you see the flames..."

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