Kids! Don't get caught trying these at home!

This pilot fish at a public utility spends a lot of time cleaning up after one of the IT support groups.

"It was staffed by several ladies who enjoyed a good prank, and supervised by people with no clue of basic IT concepts," says fish.

For example, there's the case of the supervisor who calls desktop support asking for a key puller, because someone has rearranged the keys so his home row spells out "I AM DOFUS" and the support-group pranksters have told the supervisor he needs a special tool to change them back.

"It took me a while to explain and demonstrate that the keys will just pop off using an ordinary car key or even a fingernail," fish says, "and then a few more minutes to replace the keys in the right order, as the supervisor had no idea in what order to put the keys."

Then there's the supervisor's desktop icons that suddenly stop working. It seems someone has turned a screen capture of his desktop into wallpaper and stashed all his actual icons in a folder. "It took a few minutes, but I figured it out, restored the icons and removed the wallpaper," says fish. "The supervisor was impressed that I was able to fix the problem so quickly."

But then comes the day when a mysterious someone swaps the cables on the dual monitors of a department manager who can barely spell IT.

Fish quickly recognizes the pranksters' handiwork, but explains to the manager that somehow the cables must have gotten switched. The manager suggests that he tried to remote into his computer from home the previous weekend, and that's probably what caused the switch to happen.

"I tried to explain there's no way that remoting in would result in cables being physically switched from one device to another," says fish. "I finally gave up, realizing that the situation was far too complicated for this manager to understand.

"When I walked by the ladies' office, I just said, 'Keep it up. Your pranks are making me look brilliant!'"

No fooling, Sharky wants your story. But remember, stories about pranks probably won't make the cut (except on April Fools Day). Send me your true tale of IT life at sharky@computerworld.com. 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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