It doesn’t actually fly, see?
Flash back to 1995, when this IT pilot fish works at an investment company and the coolest thing in laptops is the IBM ThinkPad 701. It’s nicknamed the “butterfly,” because when opened its keyboard expands into a full-size keyboard. “We routinely tried to get new laptops to the people who actually used them,” says fish. “But once in a while, one of the investment officers who had a huge ego couldn’t stand it that a peon had a cooler PC than he did, and he insisted that he get one of the new ones.”
That happens late one Friday afternoon. Fish gets word that he needs to prep one immediately for an investment officer, and it needs to be ready before fish leaves, because the investment guy will be traveling over the weekend.
Fish stays several hours late to make sure it’s set up and delivered to the user. Then he heads home for the weekend.
Monday morning, there’s a voicemail waiting for fish: There’s a problem with the butterfly. I’ll be right there, fish tells investment guy. No, it’s better that I bring it over, investment guy tells him.
“A few minutes later, he approaches my desk, holding a shoebox,” fish says. “In the centre of my desk, he pours out the shoebox, and I notice parts that were once an IBM 701. The unit is two days old and totally demolished.
“It turns out that instead of traveling, he just wanted to read his e-mail on his third-floor balcony during his morning coffee, using a really cool laptop. He confided that he got up for another cup of coffee and snagged the power cord of the butterfly and it dropped — three stories to the ground. “The user was shocked to learn that IBM’s warranty wouldn’t cover a three-story fall, and that his business unit would be paying for the butterfly. “He never requested another laptop.”
‘And other duties as assigned’
Programmer pilot fish at a small manufacturing company is finding it very difficult to get the time he needs for a project on a very busy minicomputer.
One Saturday he’s compiling and testing code to meet a Monday deadline when the owner of the company walks into the computer room. He makes small talk, asking how the project is going and what fish is doing. Fish explains that he’s trying to get work done to be ready for Monday’s status meeting, which the owner is heading up. Then the owner asks fish if he knows how to run the copier. “I told him, yes, I could,” says fish.
“He handed me a book of seafood recipes with quite a few of the pages tagged with slips of paper. He asked me if I could copy those pages for him, since he was leaving late next week for his house on Cape Cod and would be preparing a lot of seafood dishes. “He’s the boss, so I went ahead and made the copies and stayed late in order to finish my real work.”