So THAT'S what a hundred-pack-a-day habit looks like

It's the turn of the millennium, and this tech support pilot fish is working for a company that puts automated teller machines in small businesses.

"We had these small PCs that we would send out for certain models of ATM," fish says. "Each one acted as a simulated host, and converted the terminal from leased-line to dialup.

"We got one back from a bingo parlor with the explanation, 'It died.'

"When I opened the cardboard box, all I could smell was smoke.

"When I opened the PC's case, the entire room filled with the smell of cigarette smoke. There was tar dripping from the underside of the lid. The IDE cables had turned brown. The dust filter in front of the fan was dark brown. Apparently, it was the only air filtration system in the bingo hall.

"We never even tried to repair this one. Just wrote the cause of death up as 'smoke inhalation' and put it on a shelf to show off to the newbies. We labeled it 'Old Smoky.'"

Sharky says send 'em if you've got 'em -- true tales of IT life, that is. Email them to me at You'll snag a snazzy Shark shirt if I use it. Add your comments below, and read some great old tales in the Sharkives.

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