The LAST BOFH... part II
Date: Fri, 12 Apr 96 16:45:53 -0700
From: Peter Langston <psl>
Subject: The LAST BOFH... part II
The BASTARD IS BACK!
Programming is dull at the moment since the only "bug" in my software is
now repaired. (The swipe-card door-access machine had some logic "glitch"
that unfortunately no-one knew about until a particularly annoying Sales
Consultant got accidentally locked in the secure area over the holiday
weekend. The poor guy was a drooling wreck when they found him - apparently
the sirens and sprinklers were playing up in there too, every 10 minutes.
It all goes to show that you can't be too careful when stealing an
ex-operators car park [aka parking spot -psl].
THE BASTARD GOES TO THE TRADE SHOW!
I decide to kill some time by dropping into a Computer Trade show to "sense
the new direction of the market and Investigate emerging trends", i.e. I'll
spend a shitload of the company's cash on food and drink and give a couple
of salespeople a hard time they won't forget.
Well, that's how the normal bastard would do it, but not me. I really get
remembered. All I need now is an acronym.... Hmmm...
I get there and two stalls promptly close when they see me coming, (poor
losers), but there's 4 or 5 newbies that look like easy meat. I centre on a
vendor that's trying to push their Unix compliance with every ISO standard
except hygene and start talking 7-figure site upgrades. Ignoring his
panting, I continue to talk, harping on about our requirement for complance
with currently emerging standards till he takes the ball and runs with it.
"Ah well, you see, we're THE foremost company in compliant systems" (turd)
"In fact, our projected market share is.... blah blah blah.."
I let him dig his hole nice and deep. He's sure that 2 years at University
has prepared him for the hardball arena of BIG $ales.
"Yes" I cut in "But all this is irrelevant without a Dynamically Allocated
Heap and some Transient Intuitive Hardware System. Are you D.A.E.H.T.I.H.S
"Dynamic Allocation of Extra Heap and the Transient Intuitive Hardware
Standard, D.A.E.H.T.I.H.S. It's THE most important thing to come out of ISO
this DECADE! I guess you don't have an implementation path yet then?"
"Tell you what" he says, smelling a deal "The Regional Manager is on the
Showroom floor somewhere. I'll track him down and get an answer for you?"
"Well, that would be great!" I say, trying to enthuse him and keep him from
staring at the acronym for too long. "But I'm a bit pressed for time, I've
got a flight in..."
He runs off. The Regional Manager is no dummy. They're trained to recognise
"SHITHEAD" spelt backwards. And upside down. And reverse. And lipread.
One stall down, 4 to go. I troll up to the next..
"Hi there, what form of hardware solution are you looking for?" Mr Smiles
says (In other words, how can I tuck you for an extra grand)
"Well I don't really know. I need a fast and expandable machine that's top
of the line but also capable of talking to my old luggable laptop."
Mr Smiles likes the words "Fast", "Top of the Line" and "Expandable". He
runs over to a machine surrounded in glitter and advertising and gestures
at it. "This is probably what you want then. The latest thing. There's only
two in the country and luckily we have one here today"
"Yes yes, but will it talk to my laptop?"
"THIS baby will talk to ANYTHING. What's the interface, ethernet?"
"No, a SCSI-1 Interface. My machine pretends to be a disk, ID 3. But lots
of machines kill my machine's powersupply with inductive transience backflow
due to a non-standard SCSI interface...
>DUMMY MODE ON He practically BEGS me to try the new machine out. Which
I've been waiting for. I drag out my luggable, which is, admittedly, a bit
of a beast.
"Wow! That IS old!! And >ungh! I mumble about legacy data, only use it at
home, sentimental value and irreplaceable software while he plugs it in and
starts the host machine.
"Okay, let's see what we can see" he says, and presses the power-on switch
on my "portable" The 31 hefty nicad batteries that make up almost the entire
inside of my "laptop" pour grunt into a tripling inverter which in turn
supplies RICH, CHUNKY VOLTS to alternate pins on the "SCSI" bus, whilst
emitting a dull "uuurk" sound.
"My Laptop!" I cry, reaching for it, just as smoke starts pouring out the
back of the display machine. Mr Smiles dives for the demo machine weeping,
while I exit, in "anguish"....
...resetting the circuit breaker in my machine as I go...
..to the next stall...
"Hi there, you look like someone who needs an upgrade!" the salesman chirps
"Well I don't really know. Is any of your stuff capable of talking to my
One born every minute.
THE BASTARD'S STILL ABOUT!
It's a warm afternoon as I roll into work after a heavy night out at my
I'm in such a run-down mood I almost don't notice the smell of deodorant in
the air. Deodorant can only mean one thing - an outsider. No-one here cares
if their smell offends anyone. The smell is pretty thick which means the
bearer must have been here a while.
As these thoughts steam sluggishly through my brain, I trundle through to
the expresso machine and fill my tankard with the syrupy dark roast Italian.
Barely have I time to turn off logins than I meet today's visitor.
"Simon?" the boss chirps from the doorway "Ah.. I'd like to meet John Stern,
he's the speaker from "MOTIVATION 2000" that we mentioned in the
departmental newsgroup last week..."
"HI!" John gushes, powerdressed to the max.
"Oh, Do we have a departmental newsgroup?" I ask the boss, toying with him.
"..and sent you email about.."
"Well, you know I don't read my email, it's just a load of mealy mouthed
whining from malcontents" I counter
"But I send you mail all the time.."
"Like I said, it's just a load..."
"AH SIMON, John's here to talk to us about improving our department's morale"
"Morale? What's wrong with our Morale? Hell, I laughed THREE times yesterday"
"Yes, I heard the ambulance... Simon, this is a compulsory meeting. All the
department will be there..." the boss urges, fingers crossed
"Ah yes, how is the flock?" I ask, disinterestedly
"I'm sorry? Simon, the whole department is going. It would be good.."
"Yes. Well, I don't think it would be *good* `morally' for me to attend"
"Simon >PREGNANT PAUSE Now THIS is a turn-up for the books! The boss,
against all popular rumours, appears to have a spine. True, he's sweating
profusely and has picked up a tremor, but he does appear to be holding his
ground. I re-evaluate the potential threat of John, and decide to attend.
"Oh. Oh, Ok then" I mutter in a defeated manner
The relief on the boss's face is phenomenal. He immediately ceases radiating
nervous heat and his bowels get a new lease on life. He smiles nervously
and starts his exit to a new world of respect and authority...
We all have our dreams...
"GLAD TO HAVE YOU ON THE TEAM SIMON! YOU WERE MAYBE A LITTLE HESITANT TO
START OUT WITH, BUT I'M SURE WE'LL GET TO BE GREAT FRIENDS!!!" John blurts
"Yes" I say, concentrating on remembering where I put my coffee
"YES. NOW COME ON, BUCK UP!!!"
"I'm sorry?" I whisper, instantly in attack mode - the boss freezes in terror
"BUCK UP!, YOU KNOW, MOTIVATION!!"
"Oh, `BUCK' up.." I relax
The boss giggles nervously and resumes his exit waddle.
"YOU KNOW SIMON WHENEVER I HAVE MOTIVATION PROBLEMS I SAY TO MYSELF `IT'S
A DAY TO CELEBRATE, 'CAUSE TO DAY IS THE FIRST DAY OF THE REST OF MY LIFE!'"
"I see. So it'll be a double celebration for you today then?"
"I'M SORRY, I DON'T GET..."
The boss `GET's it alright, and hurriedly drags him from the room. I decide
its time to get some real work done, and call an ex-operator trainee of mine
who works at the National Security Information Centre. A good trainee too,
passed with flying colours. You can tell, he's still alive.
"HELLO!" he shouts "WADDAYA WANT!"
Old habits do die hard
"SIMON HERE" I shout back
I compliment myself on a job well done.
"I want some information on a John Stern"
"Stern. Isn't he that Motivation guy?"
"The very same."
"Yeah, I don't have to look him up, but I will anyway. He came here three
weeks ago for a motivation retreat. I got a non-specific disease those days"
"Tragic. But what did I tell you about problems? CONFRONT THEM HEAD ON!
DON'T AVOID THEM!! It's bad for your rep."
"Yeah, you're right. He's coming back in a couple of weeks for a refresher
and I can't back out those days because we're updating vetting info on some
national politicians and I'll want a copy for... backup purposes"
"I'm sure you do. Well, what can you tell me?"
"Well, I'm afraid I can't tell you anything Simon. As you know all our
information is carefully monitored for compliance with the Data Security
and Privacy Laws, and there's no way to extract information without it being
We laugh, and he emails everything to me. I look through the data and find
that Stern is cleaner than the Watergate filing cabinet. A great shame.
Motivation O'Clock arrives and I wander to the seminar room. John's setting
up some display on his laptop, no doubt with lots of cartoon characters
depicting co-operation and unity. Nothing turns my stomach more...
"SIMON! GOOD TO SEE YOU!!" John spurts. He slips his hand into mine with a
non-threatening orientation. I grab it in such a manner that his ends up on
top of mine in the classic repressive Body-Language manner. He immediately
notes this, loosens his grip and starts to remove his hand, all according
to plan. A squeeze and twist later and John's morale is a little less than
100% with two dislocated fingers.
"Oh! I'm sorry!" I gush, helping John back to the nearest available seat..
..which unforunately has his laptop with its fragile liquid crystal
>Whumph! "Nobody Move!" I call "It's dark and we don't want any accidents!!"
Everyone in the department freezes, knowing what this means. The god of
computing wants a sacrifice, and volunteers are being called for.
"HOLD ON EVERYONE, I HAVE A TORCH IN MY BRIEFCASE!" John calls
If John were telekinetic, he would be reeling back from the mental shouts
of "DON'T DO IT!". However, he obviously, and sadly, is not.
>WHOPWHOPWHOP Or should I say, WAS not.
Two minutes later the lights come on and the tragedy is revealed. The police
"...apparently, fell forwards, head first into his briefcase, the
spring-loaded lid of which slammed down upon his neck three times, snapping
it like a twig"
I nod. The boss nods. The flock nods. One big happy family once more.
The electronic rights of BOFH are owned by DATAMATION magazine.
All other rights are retained by Simon Travaglia <email@example.com>.
© 1996 Peter Langston