Date: Wed, 19 May 93 18:44:12 PDT
Subject: BOFH #4
[Oh gee, were you waiting for this? ... -psl]
BASTARD OPERATOR FROM HELL #4
It's a thursday, and I'm in a good mood. It's payday. I think I'll take
some calls. I put the phone back on the hook. It rings.
"I've been trying to get you for hours!" the voice at the other end screams.
"No, it can't be hours" I say, putting Blade Runner back into its cover
and looking at the back, "it was more like 114 minutes. I was on a long phone
call with the big boss, trying to get you users some better facilities."
Hook; Line; and Sinker...
"Oh. I'm sorry."
"That's ok, I'm a tolerant person" I make a mental note to change his password
to something nasty in the next couple of days.
"Um, I need to know how to rename a file" he says.
Oh dear... Hang on, it is payday isn't it?! I'm in a good mood.
"Sure. You just go 'rm' and the filename"
"No worries" (Now I'm in a REALLY good mood. I think I just might write that
script to make saving impossible on rogue at random times like I've been think-
The phone rings again.
"Hi there" I say
"Is this the Operator?"
"Yes it is" I say, nice as pie
"Could you get my printouts out please. I need them urgently, and I printed
them over 5 minutes ago"
"Your username?" I ask
He gives it to me, and I write it down for later. "No worries at all!" I say,
and head to the printers.
There's a HUUUUUUUGE pile of printouts there, and sure enough, his is at the
top of the pile. I pick it up, split it out of the rest and pour our ink-
stained cleaning alcohol all over it, run it over a couple of times with the
loaded tape trolley then slam it in the tape safe door some times as well.
"Here's your printout" I say "Sorry about the delay, we've got a few printer
He takes a look and shits himself.
"Well, can I print it again?" he asks, worried
"Sure you can" I say "But no promises, the printer's a bit stuffed today"
"Well can I print it on laser - is that working?"
"Yeah of course, but that'll cost you" I say, oozing compassion for the geek
"It doesn't matter about the cost, THIS IS URGENT!"
I slide-on back into the printer room and put in the toner cartridge we save
for special occasions - the one that prints thick black lines down the middle
of the page and is all faint on one side. It took me quite a while to make it
like that too. The printout shoots through and I bring it out immediately -
I don't want to miss this!
"W-w-what's happened to my printout?" he geek-squeals at me.
Lucky I wrote that username down - I'm really starting to develop a taste for
"Well nothing. I mean sure, it's a little soiled, but that cartridge has
already done 47 thousand pages and been refilled 17 times. It's quite good
compared to some we get."
Geek pays up and starts blubbing.
"Hey now. There's no reason to cry! Have you got a disk with your work on
He gives me a box of diskettes and I step inside and run them across the bulk
eraser. I come back out again.
"Sorry, I just remembered, our machine is on the fritz, you'll have to take
these to the other side of campus to the machine there, it'll print them ok,
and it had a brand-new toner yesterday."
"No worries. Oh, and hold the disks above your head the whole way there, the
earth's magnetic field is particularly strong today."
"No arguements, just do it."
He wanders off, hand held high. Shit I hate myself sometimes.
© 1993 Peter Langston