No good deed goes unpunished

There's a line at the receptionist's desk when this pilot fish arrives for his chiropractic appointment, and while he's waiting he notices that there's a new receptionist -- and she has an unusual tattoo on her arm.

"I saw that her tattoo was a column of binary numbers," says fish. "I kept looking, and noticed they appeared to be eight-bit ASCII. The first number was an upper case I, the second a space, and the third a lower case L.

"I just finished spelling out the second word when I heard, 'Can I help you and what are you looking at?'"

I noticed the tattoo on your arm, fish tells the receptionist.

"Oh, that," she replies. "They're just random numbers.”

Actually, they're extended ASCII and there's a message there, fish says.

"Get out, no way."

It says I love you, Mike, fish tells her -- and after a moment, she looks like she's about to cry. Are you OK? fish asks.

"Mike was my last boyfriend," receptionist says. "We were getting serious when he was killed in a car accident. That happened six months ago. I still haven't gotten over it."

Reports fish, "I told her I was sorry. It took her a few minutes to regain her composure. One of the doctors wanted to know what was going on, so I explained it to him.

"He scolded me for causing a scene."

Sharky knows not every true tale of IT life takes place in a data center. So send me your stories, wherever they happened, at sharky@computerworld.com. You'll snag a snazzy Shark shirt every time I use one. Add your comments below, and read some great old tales in the Sharkives.

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