Flashback to 1985, when this sysadmin pilot fish has just gotten a job helping to manage IT for 400 engineers and related staff.
"I worked with a younger guy, Barney, who had been there for about two years," fish says. "I quickly found that Barney liked to show off, and whenever he wore a tie it usually meant there were sales people visiting and he was hoping for a free lunch -- even though we both knew we had zero budget for new equipment."
About two weeks after fish is hired, Barney shows up wearing the tie and asks fish to join him in the server room for a Q&A session with two salespeople. OK, fish figures, I might learn something.
Not long after that, standing with fish and the salespeople in the server room, Barney is talking up the company as a prospective customer and moving things right along toward the free lunch.
Everything is going smoothly until Barney reaches out to lean casually against a wall -- and his palm lands on the big red Emergency Power Off button.
The server room lights go out. Emergency lights cut on. Alarms outside the room go off -- but they're not so loud that fish can't hear the sound of fans slowly spinning down on the otherwise silent server-room equipment.
"Barney screamed, looked at us and ran from the room down a long hallway," says fish. "The three of us were stunned, looked at each other and then dissolved into laughter.
"Then the CAD manager -- who had his whole team working on a deadline -- came running into the room, red faced and demanding to know what happened. We managed between gulps of air and tears to inform him. Then he demanded to know where Barney went. We pointed down the hall.
"The CAD manager ran out yelling, 'I'm going to kill him! This is the second time!'"
You can send Sharky a story as many times as you like. Email your true tales of IT life to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. You'll get a stylish Shark shirt every time I use one. 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.