Hey, IT support is Adventureland, not Fantasyland!

It's a Sunday afternoon in the 1990s, and this contract support pilot fish is enjoying the day at a theme park with his family when his pager goes off.

"Finding a phone booth was a bit of fun, as the daily parade of cartoon characters and loud music seemed like it was happening all around," says fish. "But I found one, and called back the number on the pager."

The user on the other end has a decidedly irate tone: "My workstation is dead, and I've got some reports due on Monday morning."

Fortunately, fish knows that this company uses diskless network workstations that are basically all the same -- a user's desktop is on the server, so users can log into their own desktops from any workstation. And he remembers that the office space consists of two-person cubicles, with a workstation on each desk.

"Sir, if you swing your chair around and log in on the workstation there, you will be able to get your work completed," fish tells the user.

"No, I need my workstation," user says. "It's all personalized to allow me to work more efficiently. You need to get out here and fix it. I know we're paying for four-hour response, and if you're not here in four hours, there will be hell to pay."

Which fish knows isn't true. "Sir," he politely says, "because your workstations are identical, your management decided not to have them on 24-by-7 four-hour response. But I can respond if it's an emergency."

User: "Well, I need you here ASAP. These reports are important."

Fish: "OK, sir. The emergency response fee is $2,000 plus parts. I am currently on the edge of my response zone, so it will be about three hours before I arrive. I will need your name and your manager's name, so that billing can do the proper paperwork."

User: "Hey! I logged into this other workstation, and all my stuff is there. Never mind."

Reports fish, "The phone went dead, and I and my family headed to Space Mountain."

Sharky will go anywhere there are true tales of IT life. Send yours to me at sharky@computerworld.com. 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.

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