How to play the game

Flashback to the early 1980s, when a junior computer operator at a big university is headed across campus to print payroll checks on a large system printer, according to a pilot fish in the know.

"When she was leaving the main campus parking for the computer center, the security guard for the lot asked if she was done for the day," fish recalls. "She said no, she was going to the remote facility to do some work.

"The guard told her she would likely be unable to come back to the parking lot when she returned, as there was a basketball game that afternoon.

"She politely told the guard that she was working and had to return with the materials after she was finished at the remote site. But the guard insisted that her spot might be given to a VIP for parking near the game.

"She asked, again politely, for the guard's name and ID. He insisted that this was just part of the game and that she was perfectly welcome to present her complaint to the sergeant at the security building.

"She said, 'I'm not asking so that I can register a complaint. I am going to the remote facility to print paychecks and you have been very polite, so I want to be certain that yours is not one of the occasional misprints that take a week of work with the accounting department to get replaced.'

"The guard assured her that her parking space would be available on her return."

Sharky doesn't believe in blackmail, so let's put it this way: If you don't send me your true tale of IT life at sharky@computerworld.com, you can't 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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