Hope they sprang for gas money

Pilot fish makes a house call.

Pilot fish is membership coordinator for a large fraternal organization with thousands of members in hundreds of chapters spread across the state. Each year at its annual convention, the organization hands out awards for the chapters that met their membership goals, the chapter that reached its goal first and the chapter with the most new members.

There’s a membership database that’s used for figuring all of that out, but the membership report for the annual convention is done by hand — which is not only laborious, but also not always accurate, and that can cause bad feelings if a chapter gets snubbed because someone didn’t add things up correctly. 

Wanting to avoid such problems, fish writes an Excel macro to automate the process. It’s over 2,000 lines long, but it’s totally accurate.  

This is not the highlight of fish’s career. He really doesn’t think about it much, especially after he leaves the fraternal organization for a new position in another city. But about a year after that, fish gets a frantic phone call from his old boss: The annual convention is coming up and that macro has quit working. 

So fish drives 60 miles to the organization’s headquarters and tries to run the macro. Sure enough, after processing one page, it halts. Then fish notices that someone had turned on “Scroll Lock.” 

“I pushed one key and solved the problem,” fish says. And then it was 60 miles back home.

You don’t have to drive to Sharky. Just send me your true tale of IT life 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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