"It's... it's destroyed!" the Boss sniffles as he tilts the remains of his home computer up for me to see.
"True, but then he was just doing what you told him to do."
"It told him to go ahead and start the machine up if he thought it was fixed!"
"No, you said, 'OK, give it a bash' - a completely different thing altogether. He's a very literal man, my assistant."
"No one would mistake 'give it a bash' for 'hit it repeatedly with a hammer'."
"No one except my assistant, apparently."
"No, no one at all. No one in their right mind would spend half an hour fixing a machine for someone then smash it to pieces."
"Ah yes, I'm glad you said that."
"The thing about right mind. Because... well..."
"I think my assistant is partially affected by Aspergers syndrome," I lie.
"No, it's true. It's quite common amongst IT types."
"I won't even dignify that with a response!"
"You just did, but not to mind - I'll walk you through it and you can make your own mind up >clickety< >tap< >click<. If you'd be so kind as to read that list?"
"Wha... oh, the Aspergers symptoms webpage. Uhm... ONE - Socially and emotionally inappropriate behaviour and interpersonal interaction."
"I think that speaks for itself" I say.
"TWO - Limited interest or preoccupation with a subject."
"THREE - Repetitive behaviours or rituals - You don't have that!"
"Tell us about it at the pub every single lunchtime."
"FOUR - Peculiarities in speech and language."
"Wot, us L33t D00des?"
"FIVE - Problems with nonverbal communication."
"I think your machine is a prime example of that."
"SIX - Lack of empathy."
"With users in particular..."
"SEVEN - Clumsy and uncoordinated motor movements."
"What can I say - we tend not to be jocks?"
"So you're saying that the reason he trashed my personal machine was because he has a mental condition that inhibits him from caring about me or my problems - not because he was a spiteful vindictive bastard?"
"It's more of a sliding scale," I say, not wanting to overuse my lie quota for the day.
"And reading between the lines you're suggesting that working in IT makes you a spiteful vindictive bastard with borderline Aspergers?"
"If we're talking cause and effect here it might be that being a spiteful vindictive bastard with a mild personality disorder might attract you to IT," I counter, "as opposed to IT making you that way. Leastways, I know it is in my case."
"So now you're saying that you have it as well?"
"Absolutely - but over the years my assistant and I have evolved a clear and concise language with which to pass on instructions. For instance, we avoid terms like 'kick the server in the guts', 'give it a bash', 'ok shoot', and a whole host of other phrases which, when subject to literal translation, could be misconstrued."
"And you have all these 'symptoms' as well, the lack of empathy, the inappropriate behaviour..."
"Of course I do. Uh... git," I respond.
"And you expect me to believe this?"
"Of course. Though I have to say it's not my fault. But as it seems to be important to you how about you buy some replacement parts for the damaged ones and I guess I can put the thing back together for you."
"So what will I need?"
"Uh, let's see... A graphics card, probably a hard drive, motherboard, CPU... uh... CPU fan... Hmm, I think it would be simpler if you just upgraded to a new machine and I used some disk tools to attempt to recover as much data from your hard drive as I can."
"What sort of machine?"
"Uh, let's see >clickety< >tap< There, that one - a good mid-level consumer tower with space to put an additional hard drive. We'll be able to slap your old harddrive in and see if we can transfer your data across. And look, they've got 20 in stock so we could have you up and running on new and improved hardware by the weekend. You know, if you look at it another way he probably did you a favour."
...Two hours later...
"OK," I say, plugging cables from the new machine into the old hard drive now installed inside. "The old hard drive is safely installed so we should be able - if the drive's undamaged - to copy all your information from the old machine onto here. Once that's done I can probably recover your license information from the old registry and use that to reinstall any special applications you might want to reinstall on this machine."
"So we're OK to power on."
"Fire it up!" the Boss says decisively.
>Squirt< >Scratch< >Scratch< >Crackle< >Jangle<
...Later that day...
"I mean who the hell keeps lighter fluid and a box of matches on their desk..." the Boss whines from inside the Director's office...