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BOFH takes a hit from Cupid's arrow

Shall I compare thee to an OS2-free Intel box?

Episode 26 BOFH 2004

So the Boss wanders into the office with the yellow folder of doom. Ever since the Beancounters discovered the horrendous disappearance rate of our kit they've been getting us to do a six-monthly asset audit to track its movements.

"I've just got a little job for you - in your free time," he burbles.

"We don't have any free time!" the PFY responds, knowing full well what the folder bodes.

"So what I'd like you to do," he continues, ignoring the PFY, "is to fill in the last three digits of the asset number once you've located the machine in question."

"Sneaky," the PFY replies.


"Sneaky. It means we have to actually GO to the machine - instead of just ticking it off. Which means it'll take months to get around everything."

"I…" the Boss says, a bit concerned at the turn of events , "... I could get a temp in?"

"A temp!" the PFY gasps. "But we'll spend as much time helping them find things as doing it ourselves."

"No, no, I think a temp would work," I add.

"Right, so it's sorted then!" the Boss gasps, happy to be leaving on a high note.

"?" the PFY asks, once the Boss has gone. "They'll be more a nuisance than anything!"

"Not exactly. We say it'll take two weeks, then get the temp to just copy the asset numbers over from a dump I'll grab out of the asset database. The remaining temp time can be used for something worthwhile, like painting the office..."


"I thought so."

. . .

Two days later...

"And I'd like you to meet the two men you'll be working for. Guys, this is Cathy."

"A. Mmm," the PFY and I respond.


"Breathtaking," the PFY says, once the Boss has taken her off to find some office supplies.

"What's the word?" I respond. "Unspoilt? You know, like a tract of rainforest?"

"Like a silent and crystal clear mountain lake," the PFY sighs.

"Like a breath of fresh country air."

"Like an Intel box with no OS2 on it," the PFY adds, taking my role in annoying the two OS2-loving readers.

. . .

"And so what we'd like you to do, Cathy, is just copy these numbers from this page onto this page," I say.

"Is that all you'll need me to do? Your Boss said there was a lot of leg work?"

"We did all that before you got here, but unfortunately we just need the data across," I respond, stifling the mental image that the words 'leg work' inspired.

"Or I could just sample your handwriting and reprint those pages in colour with the correct data," the PFY offers, trying to win some brownie points.

"No, they'd spot the similarity of characters which would result in Cathy being blamed for not doing her job properly."

"I could fill them in for you," the PFY says.

"And I could get you tea and biscuits," I say, raising the stakes somewhat.

. . .

As the afternoon wears on, it becomes increasingly apparent that the office is witnessing a geeky re-enactment of clash of the Titans, with the PFY and I attempting to win Cathy's affection with our every deed.

. . .

Though it's only later in the afternoon as the PFY is calling out Asset Numbers to me to write down that I fully appreciate the irony of the situation.

"You realise that we're actually doing what we're supposed to with this Asset Inventory?" I say.

"You mean we were set up?!?! The Boss actually PLANNED all this!?!?"

"No, I think it was purely coincidental - but still, you have to laugh!"

"So what should we do?"

"I don't think either of us wants to disappoint Cathy, so we may as well finish this page, then come up with some form of plan."

"OK. But I want to tell Cathy!"

"Yes, yes, but I think we should possibly declare a truce for now, and find some other way of deciding the matter. So let's finish this page before one of those helldesk geeks sees her and does some spade work in our absence."

"Right!" the PFY responds, realising the dangers.

"Of course you do. OK, second to last item, a thick wire repeater."

"Where the hell would that be?"

"I don't think it's actually in use, so it's probably in the spares cupboard."

"Can't see it!" the PFY.

"Top shelf, behind the Macintosh boxes."

"No.. nothing here but..:"

>Boot!< >Slam!<

"Hey!" the PFY shouts from within the cupboard, as I up-end a desk in front of the door. "What about our truce."

"I did say 'possibly declare a truce'," I say in my defence, as I make a break for the door.

. . .

"So we've worked our way through these pages and wonder if you could just.. check them against the list. I'll help you if you like," I say, brownnosing like a champ.

"And the other guy, where's he gone?"

"The VD clinic," I say, before I can stop myself.

I know, it's cruel, unsportsmanlike and not all that nice, but all's fair…

"What IS it with this place?" Cathy asks.

"What do you mean?"

"Well he's got VD, you're HIV positive..."

THE SCHEMING BASTARD! I knew I shouldn't have ducked out to the toilet with the PFY in the room.

Denying the accusation at this time would be pointless, because no matter what I say I'm relegated to the bench from now on. A true gentleman knows when he's been bested and accepts defeat gracefully…

"Tell me, you've obviously spoken to my assistant at length - do you know why all his ex-girlfriends call him JustIn?"

So I'm not a gentleman, sue me.

"No. But Grandpa says that you've worked with each other for years, so why don't you ask him?"


"Gerry. Davis. The CEO."



. . .

The crashing about in the cupboard stops as I enter the Computer room and the PFY senses a shift in the power of the force. Opening the storage cover door reveals that he's made reasonable progress cutting the wood around the hinges with a mounting bracket and is probably only a couple of hours away from freedom.

"It's over," I say. "I've sent her away."

"You WHAT!?"

"Sent her away. She was the CEO's granddaughter."


"So when things turned to custard, hell would have no fury like him. One or both of us would be down the road in an instant - regardless of our indispensability."

"Why do you automatically think it'd turn to custard?"

"History. Think about it. You know it'd end badly…"

The PFY thinks about it for a bit. "Yeah, you're probably right. No hard feelings?"


>Boot!< >Slam<

Well, maybe just a little. ®

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