Bigwig gets a state-of-the-art laptop because, well, he's a bigwig, reports a pilot fish responsible for keeping it running.
"After a while I noticed that, although the laptop had a magnesium casing, two of the corners had broken off," fish says. "This was strange because I buy a carrying case with every laptop and he said no, the laptop hadn't been dropped."
But the bigwig doesn't seem to mind, so fish lets it drop -- until the bigwig calls in a panic. Instead of starting up, the laptop now gives a "no operating system found" message.
And the bigwig's boss is coming to talk about some reports that are on the laptop. And there are no backups because, er, something has been wrong with the laptop.
"I inserted a boot CD in order to get some response from the system. No go," says fish. "Got the CD out and found a small piece of metal in the tray. So I called our vendor and he picked it up personally and he dropped it off at their repair center."
Diagnosis the next day: The hard disk is working fine. "But it had broken off from its frame -- that was the piece of metal," fish says. "Gravity had made it travel over the motherboard, damaging almost everything in its path.
"I begged them to put everything from the hard disk on CDs and send them by express courier, no matter the cost. They did, and so saved the bigwig."
But how did it happen? Bigwig insists he didn't drop the laptop. But, he asks, could it have anything to do with the fact that he carries it in a flimsy Italian leather briefcase instead of the padded carrying case?
"It has no extra protection on the sides or anywhere," fish sighs. "But it's a portable computer, right? Why call it a portable if you have to be careful with it?
"The laptop was fully repaired, which cost half of the original price. He still uses his briefcase, but he put in some foam protection on the bottom.
"And now I check the backups every day."