Friday, December 01, 2006



In the type of work that I do, I spend a lot of time trying to figure out why it is that things that should be working, are not working. I also try to figure out why things that shouldn't work, work. Some people point to quantum behavior: the whole idea that things behave differently depending on whether your looking or not.

As a friend of mine says, all other things being equal, the simplest answer is usually the correct answer. Hence my theory: Gremlins.

Note the plural. You never deal with just one gremlin at a time, you deal with a whole pack. That way, one "team member" can distract you, while the rest of them work on screwing you up. In my case, it ran something like this:

(Me): (Types a key triumphantly) Ha! Genius I am! Happy! Happy! Joy! Joy! (Gremlin #1): Way, hey, hey! This guy's gonna be fun! (Gremlin #2): Hey boss! You want us to kill him? (G1): No way! I got plans for this guy. Have George distract him. (G2): You got it.

(With an appropriate sound, I receive an email)

(M): Chips and chocolate? Where?!!!

(I leap out of my chair and run off)

(G1): Hee, hee, hee.

(The gremlins tinker with my computer for several minutes, after which I return).

(Me): Hmph…no chips or chocolate! At least my program works.

(Hits a key)

(Me): What the? But…but…it was just working!

(I start typing madly, Gremlin #1 sniggers. After a few seconds G1 waves a flag at G2)

(Me): Now it's working! I guess that one change fixed everything.

(I lean back languorously watching the results flash by, G1 waves his flag at G2 again)

(Me): WHAT? It stopped again! What's going on here?

(I start typing madly, G1 waves again)

(Me): Now it's working… (G1 waves) …now it's not! But I didn't do anything how (wave) can (wave) this (wave) be (wave, wave) happening?!!

(By now I'm pulling my hair out in bunches and the gremlins are rolling on the floor laughing).

(A tired, dispirited person comes wandering by, I jump up and pull him over to my cube.)

(Me): Sludge! Sludge man, you've seen this before, why isn't this working?

(Sludge looks without interest at my computer and pokes the keyboard a few times. The Gremlin waves his flag)

(Sludge): It's working now. (Me): No it's not, it few seconds it stops working.

(The seconds tick by with no change, Sludge gives me a meaningful look)

(S): I gotta go. (Me): But wait, it's going to happen.

(Sludge plods off, I sigh, the Gremlin waves his flag).

(Me): Gaaaaaaaa! They're in my head! THEY'RE IN MY HEAD!!

Perhaps my explanation is unlikely, but I think aliens would be more interested in blowing up the planet with ray thingies than just messing with me…

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  • The image, "watto.jpg" is from Star Wars: Episode I: The Phantom Menace © 2001 Lucasfilm Ltd.


jaime the half-tongue said...

You shouldn't rule out a workplace conspiracy to drive you the rest of the way crazy.

CyberCelt said...

Just stopped by for BYB Sunday. Have a good one!

Whatever said...

Jaime: Gah! I knew it! They're in league with the gremlins!!!

Cybercelt: thanks for dropping by! I gotta get my BYBS posting out earlier.

stev said...


(i quite hate them personally actually)

Whatever said...

Fool! Do say that "out loud" --- they'll hear you!

The thing about them is that they don't get mad...they get even...with interest...and the rate is far about the prime :-D