Sometimes percussive maintenance doesn’t work

Was the manager stifling a slight limp?

It’s the early 1970s, and pilot fish works for a company that relies on heavy computation. This is accomplished via a large terminal that remotely feeds a mainframe elsewhere. Typical turnaround time is about three hours, so urgent projects can be nerve-wracking.

This one manager has an urgent project — and a bit of temper. Maybe no one ever told him that “software is the part you cuss at; hardware is the part you kick,” but when his job comes back with a minor but fatal error for the second time in one day, he kicks the poor dumb terminal. 

The terminal promptly goes down, and technical support is duly summoned. The support guy, accompanied by the manager with the guilty foot, takes a look and makes an astute observation: “It looks as if this terminal got kicked.” The manager manages to look puzzled, then declares that he can’t imagine how that could have happened.

Everyone else, fish reports, was stifling giggles.

Sharky gets the giggles from your true tales of IT life. Send me yours at sharky@computerworld.com. You can also subscribe to the Daily Shark Newsletter and read some great old tales in the Sharkives.

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