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BOFH: Frying the PFY

Mad Ron the bright spark

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Episode 15 BOFH 2004

It's not good.

I find the PFY flat on his back in the computer room with all but one of the telltale signs of electrocution (The missing sign being that he hadn't annoyed me in the recent past).

Using my rudimentary knowledge of First Aid and for once forsaking the medicinal properties of liberal application of the cattle prod, I keep him stable until the ambulance arrives. (After disconnecting the newly-installed rack from the power, of course)

One of the benefits of my long career in computing 'support' is that my location is a prerequisite for the ambulance drivers' Knowledge so they're usually fairly quick to respond to calls.

The PFY comes round before the ambulance gets there which is a good sign, however because of the nature of the accident the ambos tell me that it's best that he spends a night or two in the hospital under observation, getting some tests done. They seem somewhat surprised that he managed to survive what would appear to be sustained contact with the mains supply, but I tell them he's probably built up some immunity to the ravages of voltage over the years. I forgo the luxury of riding in the back of the ambo with him however, choosing instead to pick up some essentials for his stay.

Crisis over, my thoughts turn to voicing my displeasure.

"It's just another crap cost-cutting measure by the company!" I rant at the Boss as he drives us to hospital. Halfway there I realise it would have been quicker if I'd gone with the ambulance, however I'll probably get a second chance at that if the Boss's driving doesn't improve quickly...

"Well in this economic climate, savings have to be made.." the Boss sighs, practicing his kamikaze technique on a nearby lorry.

"I can think of one person you could get rid of!"

"As a matter of fact, Ron…"

"Mad Ron," I interject.

"...is a registered electrician. A service professional!"

"Registered where?" I ask. "They say he came with the building and that his electrical practical exam involved a kite, a key and a thunderstorm."

"I don't believe that he's quite that old!" the Boss.

"But he is crap!" I argue "and everyone knows it."

"He's not that bad!"

"HE MIXED UP THE BLOODY EARTH AND PHASE!!"

"Yes well, everyone makes mistakes..." he says, calmly.

"It's a pretty serious mistake!"

"Well, it's not really his fault though - after all, he is colour blind."

"HE'S COLOUR BLIND!?"

"Yes well, it's... ..an employment issue."

"I agree. He shouldn't BE employed."

"It's not that simple - we can't let him go because that would mean discriminating against someone on health grounds - a move the union wouldn't support."

"So you'd rather have him working there, introducing more health issues?"

"Our hands are tied," he sighs, pulling into the hospital carpark.

...

Three hours later we find out where the PFY is and make our way to his ward. Our numbers have swollen somewhat, with the PFY's latest female companion, a company lawyer and Mad Ron all in attendance...

...

"I have to admit, you seem to be taking this rather well," the Company legal representative says, as a precursor to greasing the PFY to sign away any liability that the company might have for his current condition.

"These things happen," the PFY says calmly, tapping on the ECG monitor "...and no harm done."

"Yes well, it was a narrow shave." Mad Ron says. "Still, you really should check the earthing of equipment before you use it."

"Wouldn't that normally be the role of the electrician?" the PFY asks quietly.

"Some might say, but you should really know better than to just trust anything electrical."

The PFY's "quiet" demeanour has just slipped into the "too quiet category", methinks…

"SO!" I say, sensing danger, "who's up for a coffee then?"

"Not me thanks," the Boss burbles.

"Really? Are you sure? Why LOOK AT THAT, your defibrillator isn't even plugged in!"

"Oh? Get that will you, Ron," the PFY gasps weakly.

"Actually I DO feel like a coffee, come to think of it!" the Boss blurts, dragging the Company Lawyer with him.

"Now," I say, as we're walking down the hallway, "I hope that colour recognition will be noted in the prerequisites for the new sparky?"

"What new sparky?" the lawyer asks.

The words are hardly out of his mouth when the lights dim slightly. "Ah, that new sparky!" he continues, without missing a step. "Yes, yes, good as done."

"And my assistant will probably be billing you separately for his... uhmm.. HR consultancy."

"Beg Pardon!?" he gasps.

"Or he could just proceed with the negligence case?"

"Oh THAT HR Consultancy, yes, by all means... so long as it's... reasonable."

"I'm sure that'll be no problem." I respond.

"What's going on?" the Boss asks blankly.

"Nothing - just pretend we're speaking a different language."

"Like English," the lawyer adds unkindly.

So unkindly you have to wonder if he'd make a good operator... ®

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