Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/03/21/bofh_2008_episode_10/

BOFH: Impatience

The PFY goes nuclear

By Simon Travaglia

Posted in BOFH, 21st March 2008 14:18 GMT

Episode 10

"You’re not listening to me!" the Boss snaps.

"Hmm?"

"You’re not listening to me!"

"Course I am," I say distractedly.

"What did I say then?"

"The users are unhappy."

"I… What about?" the Boss asks, temporarily foiled by my Geller-like guesswork.

"Some user thing or the other – their stupidity, the computer doing what they told it to do, or.. their stupidity."

"No, I was saying that we need… blahblahblatherblahblah... you’re not listening to me!"

"Hmm?"

"You’re not listening to me!"

"Course I am," I say distractedly.

"What did I say then?"

"You said I wasn’t listening to you."

"Before that."

"I... Actually, do you know, I’ve completely forgotten!" I gasp.

"I was saying that we n... blahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh this is ridiculous, you’re still not listening!"

"It’s a fair cop guv!" I admit, before the recursion of our conversation overflows his stack and he brownloads himself.

"Why aren’t you listening?"

"I..." I say, trying to think something up but getting distracted. What the hell, I decide to play the truth card... "I’m watching the IT Director and the PFY."

"What about them?" the Boss says, peering over to where the Director and PFY are standing.

"As you can see, the PFY is playing a quiet game of Spider."

"Yes, it’s his lunch hour, I’m sure noone would begrudge him that."

"Yes, but he only ever plays Spider to calm down after something really annoys him."

"Really annoys him?"

"Yes, you know, like when someone asks you to rebuild an entire directory tree from three month old backups, which you do – taking hours - only to find out they only actually needed one tiny text file from the whole thing and they’d found a copy of it on a USB key 10 minutes after asking for the recovery. But they didn’t think it was worth telling you that at the time..."

"I see."

"And that's happened twice to the PFY this week,"" I add. "So now, if you watch very closely you’ll see the IT Director is helping the PFY with his card placement..."

"Yes?"

"Which is something that really really annoys my offsider."

"I... see."

"How's your nuclear physics?" I ask.

"What?"

"Nuclear physics," I repeat. "You see, the theory of relativity says E=MC2 which means that because the speed of light is so incredibly fast even a very tiny mass can produce a huge amount of energy."

"I… see."

"And this energy is generally expected to be released at the splitting/destruction of atoms."

"If you say so..."

"And most atomic bombs use the result of the destruction of atoms to trigger the destruction more atoms which in turn trigger the destruction of a much more atoms, and so on and so on - all in an incredibly short time."

"Yes?"

"And they generally start this chain reaction by bringing one or more pieces of dangerously fissile material into foolishly close proximity?"

"Mmm."

"...By making one of piece of radioactive material show the other piece that the ten should go on the Jack and the Jack onto the Queen."

"I…" the Boss says, penny dropping. "Are you sure we shouldn’t stop this?"

"I would," I say, trying to casually slip my fingers into my ears without the Boss noticing. "But the outcome of a reaction like this tends to be somewhat… unfocussed... and one doesn’t want to be too near to the fissile material when it eve…"

...seconds later...

"What the hell just happened?!" the Boss gasps, picking himself up off the floor and looking over to observe the PFY calmly playing cards acapella. "And are your ears ringing?"

"What happened when?" I ask.

"That bang?"

"You mean the bang, almost like a sonic boom, as air rushes to fill a human being like space now that the human being has ceased to exist?"

"No, a bang like a scream, a door opening and slamming, another door opening and slamming in the distance – maybe the cleaners room – then another scream, a door slamming in the distance, a door opening and slamming close to us, and.. the squeak of a wheely chair. Only all happening in what seemed like a fraction of a second."

Damn, he’s good! Unfortunately...

"The cleaner’s cupboard you say?" I ask, giving the Boss a chance to revise his story.

"That’s what it sounded like."

"Are you sure?" I ask. "I mean you’re... positive?"

"Yes!" "Oh, well, in that case I suppose I’ll go and take quick look. In any case I think we should put him out of harm’s way so I’m going to suggest my assistant plays minesweeper or something instead. You just stay over this side of the office, just in case."

Moments later, after pretending to check the cleaner’s cupboard, I’m on the way back to Mission control and musing at the special uncharted realm of physics that underpins computer games everywhere. The Boss might even be interested in hearing about things like the compression of time that makes a four-hour gaming session seem like 10 minutes, the gravitation-like pull of minesweeper which can draw a person in from acro… or did I forget to mention that?

>EeeSLAMslameeslamSLAMsqueak<

Ooops.