Wayback Wednesday: All true statements, in their way

Why challenge a giant?

Computerworld  |  Shark Tank
Computerworld / IDG

This pilot fish is working as a printer repair tech when he’s called to a job at a small manufacturing plant.

“I was greeted at the front door by a supervisor who said he would show me where the printer was,” says fish.

“On the way to the printer, he told me to not be alarmed by Barney. My confused look prompted him to add that Barney was an extremely large man who used the printer. ‘But he sometimes needs things explained to him more than once,’ he added with a wink.”

The supervisor goes on to tell fish that Barney is the guy that people call on when they need heavy things lifted. Fish isn’t sure he believes it when he’s told Barney will sometimes do things like lift the front of a forklift for money so he can buy a soft drink.

Then he gets to the area where the printer is and meets Barney — a cheerful fellow only slightly smaller than a mountain, who extends a hand the size of a baseball glove and enthusiastically says, “I’m glad to meet you!”

Supervisor leaves, and Barney explains that his printer worked fine for years until it suddenly stopped.

Fish checks the PC that the printer is attached to. It won’t print. He checks the cable. It’s attached, but it looks a little odd, so he decides to try another cable.

Fish tries to detach the parallel cable. It doesn’t move. He tugs harder. It won’t budge.

“Oh yeah,” says Barney. “That cable fell off two days ago and I had a really hard time putting it back on.”

“Can you get the cable off?” fish asks.

“Sure!” Barney says. He grasps the connector with one big mitt and it slides right off.

Fish looks at the inside of the connector and sees the problem immediately: Barney had managed to jam the connector on upside-down when he put it back on.

“I told Barney that the cable must have broken when it fell off the printer,” fish says. “I retrieved a spare from my toolbox, and once I connected the printer to a new cable, it all worked fine.

“When the supervisor came to escort me back up front, I told him that the cable was defective. I didn’t think it was necessary to blame the gentle giant for anything — and the cable was defective, after all.”

Sharky likes all kinds of stories, big or small. So send me your true tales of IT life at sharky@computerworld.com. You can also subscribe to the Daily Shark Newsletter.

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