Just not as dangerous as stationery?

In which a safety auditor turns a blind eye to that thing stuck in the ceiling.

Flash back to the days of 5-1/4-inch floppy disks. Near the end of a very long day during which Murphy’s Law has been running out of control, pilot fish is backing up some files onto floppies. When his newly formatted floppy turns out to be defective, it’s the last straw; fish loses his cool, pulls the disk out of the drive, and sails it like a Frisbee across the office. The first bit of luck of the day is that it doesn’t hit anyone, but instead floats upwards and skims the ceiling until it hits a metal frame holding up the ceiling tiles. It gets stuck between the frame and the tile and stays there. 

Calling Facilities to bring a ladder would mean explaining what happened. Too much trouble and too embarrassing, fish decides. So the disk stays stuck, a visual reminder for fish to watch his temper.

It’s still there when the Building Safety auditors come through a few months later. They’re thorough, and fish’s group gets written up for everything, including a box of envelopes on top of a tall metal cabinet that the auditors fear could fall off and land on someone’s head. Ouch? So fish expects the worst when one of them glances up and sees that floppy disk. 

But after staring at it for a few seconds, the auditor moves on. The final report for the department never mentions it. Fish figures, “That auditor must have been thinking, There is a floppy disk stuck in the ceiling. Do I want to get involved in this situation? No, I don’t.”

For years afterwards, fish is able to glance up at that floppy disk whenever his temper is frayed and cool right off. And, he adds, “it also helped to reduce my fear of auditors. I guess they’re only human.”
Sail your true tale of IT life Sharky’s way, 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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