11 December 2012

Apple Brown Betti

A few months ago the Daily WTF (a site for sharing IT and computer-programming related horror stories) posted a call for new contributors, whose job would be to re-write submissions to bring them in line with the Daily WTF's voice.  They provided the source material and guidelines, and as a long-time reader and (you might not know this about me) writer, I gave it a shot ... and I never heard back.  To be fair, they indicated that they received several hundred entries; mine was likely lost in the shuffle of other qualified entries.

Stand resolute, dear reader!  For though I am not a contributor to the Daily WTF, I still hold those bits in storage, and now, for your reading enjoyment, my entry:

Betti was the gold standard for eager new developers; emigrating from Russia only a few years before she was aching to prove herself to her new team.  After working 2 years on the help desk as supporting the company's Apple computers Betti had been promoted to Junior Developer -- the week before Thanksgiving. The team maintained one of the company's oldest and most stable products, ironing out edge case bugs. Still, Betti was eager to prove herself, studying code through lunches and into evenings that first week so she could start contributing sooner. She'd also (before her promotion) requested all of Thanksgiving week off so she could visit friends a few hours away.

Though not working on anything she was desperate to use this time to continue her self-education and was looking forward to trying out some ideas that had taken shape in her mind. So Betti used her connections on the help desk to secure the use of a laptop for her trip, which she loaded with the code she'd been studying.  Her boss insisted that she take the week and enjoy herself, but Betti would not relent and left for vacation with the laptop and a head full of ideas.

The time off was fruitful and she managed to solve a tricky bug or two by turkey day.  She was so excited (and tipsy) by dinner time on Thanksgiving that she forgot to close both the laptop and the bedroom door.  While everyone ate, the ancient family cat found its way into Betti's room and onto the keyboard of her expensive company laptop for a nap -- until the fan kicked on. The noise so scared the cat that it not only peed on the keyboard but knocked the glowing halogen desk lamp onto the freshly sprayed keyboard.

Ignoring the startled cat bolting through the dining room Betti could not ignore the very suspicious burning smell not coming from the kitchen.  She ran to her room and found the laptop partially melted by the lamp and smoking from an electric short caused by cat urine.  It was then, as her nostrils filled with old cat urine, that the circuit breaker tripped and she was thrown into darkness.

After spending the rest of her vacation convinced she was fired, Betti returned to the office.  She chose honesty and her new boss was polite enough to hold his laughter until she finished her story, assuring her that she wouldn't be fired as he wiped tears from his eyes.  She would, however, have to pay for repairs to the laptop, if not a whole new machine.  To this day, Betti's friends on the help desk call her "Cat Lady" and make sure whenever she signs out a loaner that the laptop comes equipped with its own small bag of cat litter -- just in case.

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