Famous last words: 'You should be fine'

It's the early 1990s, and this pilot fish at a big computer manufacturer is the only field service rep in the office when a customer call comes in.

"You need to go to this hospital and fix their Big Machine," says boss -- knowing full well that fish hasn't been trained on the Big Machine, having asked for the course and been denied.

"We have to meet the SLA, so just go and see what you can do," boss continues. "The help desk can talk you through it. You should be fine."

Fish arrives at the hospital's computer room, where he finds the Big Machine -- it sounds like a small jet with its fans running. The hospital staffer escorting fish tells him, "Please don't take the system down. It's mostly working and we can schedule down time for later if necessary."

The only indication of trouble is a single flashing yellow light, but the help-desk tech knows exactly what's going on. "One of the boards is bad," he tells fish over the phone. "But there's a spare. All we have to do is move the board from one slot to another.

"Here's what we are going to do: We're going to open the third door from the right."

As fish opens the door, silence fills the computer room.

Tech continues, "But first we're going to log in to the console and tell the Big Machine that we're going to be opening the door, so it doesn't shut down."

Sighs fish, "I thought this was surely a Resume-Generating Event. But instead I ended up getting a seat in the next Big Machine repair class."

Before you do anything else, send Sharky your story. Email your true tale of IT life to me at sharky@computerworld.com. You'll score a sharp Shark shirt if I use it. Add your comments below, and read some great old tales in the Sharkives.

Get your daily dose of out-takes from the IT Theater of the Absurd delivered directly to your Inbox. Subscribe now to the Daily Shark Newsletter.

To express your thoughts on Computerworld content, visit Computerworld's Facebook page, LinkedIn page and Twitter stream.
Related:
Windows 10 annoyances and solutions
Shop Tech Products at Amazon
Notice to our Readers
We're now using social media to take your comments and feedback. Learn more about this here.