For the past two weeks, the usually ignored generational divide in the office has reared its head in a most peculiar way. For my colleagues with the combined age of 76 – Ling, Under Ling, and my sidekick, Greg, their computers have been constantly malfunctioning. For Elsbeth, The Quiet Man and me, combined age of 155, our computers are working fine, if Elsbeth’s inability to download email attachments is ignored since she forwards her emails with attachments to me to open. I am unsure if my superior’s difficulty is hardware or PEBKAC (Problem Exists Between Keyboard and Chair) related.
Approximately two weeks ago, Ling was no longer allowed access to the server via her Mac, the problem traveled to Under Ling’s Mac and it pretty much went downhill from there for both of them for a while. Our Graphics department was essentially crippled. They were both frustrated. Elsbeth was all over Stu, her husband and our company’s founding father, to jump all over Aaron, our IT guy, to do something about this immediately. Stu body-slammed Aaron, Aaron did respond, but he’s not a Mac guy. Often, when Ling was on her break, Aaron would sit at her desk and appear to be doing something, but afterward, as the problem continued, we deduced that what he did best was shed his beard all over her keyboard.
Ling was so repulsed, she considered going home sick.
Just as Ling and Under Ling’s problems seemed to subside for reasons that are clear as mud, Greg’s problems with his vintage PC began to escalate. He alternates between two CPU’s under his desk, one worse than the other, but he had jury-rigged a system for himself that I don’t try to understand, but it seemed to work, and he seemed content. Greg is not a complainer and knows to only get me involved as a last resort. Since neither of his malfunctioning ancient CPU’s were allowing him access to the server, he mentioned it to me, and I suggested he call Aaron. Thinking about short and curly beard droppings littering his desk, Greg performed emergency life support on one of his CPU’s and it regained a pulse. Unfortunately, his first term Clinton era monitor blew out. Greg announced:
Greg: I know where to find another monitor!
Me: Okay, find it.
Greg went on an archaeological dig in our warehouse and returned with another decrepit piece of hardware. He hooked it up and proclaimed that it worked fine. Super. Problem solved.
Later that day, I was returning from a meeting I had with a member of the Accounting department. As I walked past Greg’s desk, his new old monitor caught my eye.
It appeared to be splashed with dried blood.
Greg was sitting, typing his tile labels. I gasped:
Me: What the hell is that all over your monitor?
Greg (defensive): I didn’t put it there!
Me: I’m not accusing you of putting it there, but look at it. It’s disgusting! Should you be wearing a HazMat suit to read your e-mail?
Me: Seriously, I want to know what is that?
A voice from the back of the room reads my mind:
The Quiet Man: Arterial spray.
This observation brings to mind the classic “I Shot Marvin in the Face” scene from Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction. If you’re squeamish, don’t watch.