Now THAT'S a ringtone!


This pilot fish is in charge of a small but tight IT department in this big printing company, and his group is responsible for everything from networks, servers and PCs to the fax and phone systems.

And fish has one other major -- if informal -- responsibility. "I am a legendary jokester in my facility," says fish. "My staff all shares in my pranks, and shares my vision of how to have fun but not destroy property.

"On my 30th birthday, I reluctantly went to work knowing that someone was going to mess with me -- I deserve it. But I got to work and, to my surprise, my cube was not filled with shredded paper, my stapler was not welded shut, and my PC had not been replaced with an Etch A Sketch."

Twenty minutes go by and fish's phone rings -- and that's when he discovers his birthday surprise. An analog bell used in the noisy areas of the pressroom rings under his desk, shaking the whole area.

It seems his staff spent an hour the night before installing the bell. They've put it in a location that's virtually unreachable without serious effort -- and it rings in conjunction with fish's phone.

That's all very funny for the first half hour. Then it starts to get annoying. Then it becomes very annoying, but fish doesn't say anything to anyone. He does make a fast try at disconnecting the bell, but a quick check shows those wires have been buried among all the others, and fish knows he won't be able to find them without help.

Fortunately, at 10 a.m. he has a meeting, and he's finally away from the ear-deafening bell.

Then he realizes that while he's in the meeting, his staff is still sitting in the cubes all around his phone.

So for the rest of the hour-long meeting, he calls his desk every two minutes.

"I came back to my desk at 11 and the bell was no longer ringing," fish says. "Seems the constant ringing was too much for them and they disabled the unit, and we never spoke of it.

"The day of my 31st birthday? No pranks. Apparently they learned not to mess with the master."

Sharky's calling for true tales of IT life. Send yours 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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