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From: Peter Langston <psl>
Date: Thu, 5 Sep 96 17:12:42 -0700
Subject: Beyond Stupidity
Forwarded-by: George Osner <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Forwarded-by: email@example.com (Katherine Derbyshire)
The recent list of politically correct ways to call someone stupid reminded
me of a running joke about my company's administrative folks. All the admin
functions are consolidated in corporate headquarters in (let's say) Fargo,
North Dakota. To those of us in the remote office, it looks like the folks
in Fargo have only one brain, which they share among themselves. If the
person who has the brain that day can solve your problem, everything is
People on vacation have priority use of the brain. So, the chances
of reaching the person with the brain drop dramatically in the summer, or
at Christmas, or when everyone is in Arizona for a winter vacation.
If the person you first call has the brain, then he or she will know
who can really solve your problem. Unfortunately, she or he will then
transfer you to someone who *doesn't* have the brain--a conversational black
If the person you first call does not have the brain, he or she
won't be able to solve your problem, and won't know who can, so it doesn't
matter whether the "right" person has the brain or not. Another
conversational black hole.
The system usually works like a pre-emptive multitasking
system--either a person has the brain or they don't. At high use times, like
when financial reports come out every month, it works more like a
conventional time sharing system. And, like conventional time sharing
systems, too many users cause too much overhead, bringing the whole system
to its knees.
If someone is able to break free of the system and develop an
independent brain, this person will either quit altogether, or transfer to
another department where you will never hear from them again. Or maybe the
drones just kill them...
© 1996 Peter Langston