Going Against Code

, , , , , | Working | October 19, 2017

(Back in 1978, I was just a kid working as a programmer for a large engineering firm. One day my boss hands me two stacks of listings. They are the source for a project, one from today and one from six months prior. My job is to go through them line-by-line and mark which lines have been removed, which have been added, and which have been changed. The stacks are at least six inches tall, and I look at them in dread, realizing that there have to be some 100,000 mind-numbing lines to read. The number of errors I am bound to make will be astronomical. Then I get the bright idea to write a program that can find insertions, deletions, and changes. One day, such tools will become commonplace, but in 1978, they are unheard of. In a couple hours, I have a working program and I run all the code for the project through it, print it out, and give it to my boss later in the day.)

Boss: *looking shocked* “It’s done?”

Me: “Yeah. I wrote a program that did all the dirty work.”

Boss: *getting a bit red and angry* “Who authorized you to write a program to do this?

Me: “I was hired as a programmer. I didn’t think I needed to ask about that. Besides, this is 100% accurate. If I did it by hand, think of all the errors that would be in it.”

(Since our stuff often needed FAA or military oversight, he realized I just helped him dodge a bullet, and he calmed down quickly. The remaining problem was that this little task was designed to keep me busy for two or three weeks while he came up with something else for me. But from then on, I was put on more interesting projects.)

Things Are Lining Up Nicely

, , , | Learning | October 10, 2017

(The middle school where I teach likes to ease into things at the beginning of the year, so we don’t get our class lists until the Friday of the first week of school. The days leading up to that day are full of fun activities for students. Usually that means they are quite crazy and chatty, which I fully expect for the first few days, especially since my grade seven class last year was super chatty and had trouble with lining up in the hall. I get my group and we have an activity in the art room first thing.)

Me: “I need a volunteer.”

(A student volunteers.)

Me: “Okay, [Student] is our line leader. He’s going to stand outside, everyone is going to line up single-file behind him, and we’re going to go to art.”

(As my students leave, I grab my supplies and get out there as quickly as I can to meet the students. I’m expecting some chaos, but I emerge outside to all my students lined up perfectly and silently, waiting for me.)

Me: “…”

Students: *waiting patiently*

Me: “What the… all right.”

(They continue this kind of behaviour all day, which is amazing, but throws me off a bit. Later on, one of my older students, who is at the high school, comes to visit and I relay that story to them.)

High-School Student: “The grade tens don’t even do that!”

(So, great job, students I had that day. Sorry if I appeared confused; your awesomeness astounded me!)

The Power Of A Name

, , , , , | Hopeless | October 2, 2017

My best friend of 22 years recently got married. We grew up together, and our families were extremely close once. I consider her and her twin sister to be my soul-sisters, and their mother is like an aunt to me. They feel the same, and love my mother and me dearly.

My wonderful mother unfortunately passed away about eight years ago. Between then and now, I have been estranged from my biological family, and my friends’ family and mine also stopped talking completely, except for my best friend and me. I was therefore the only member of my biological family to attend the wedding, and I was a bridesmaid. Obviously, it was very emotional for everyone involved.

Of course, being a bridesmaid at my best friend’s wedding was a huge honor, and I loved every second, but my best friend had a bit of a surprise for me. She and her husband decided to observe a Jewish tradition in which you call upon the names of deceased relatives to join you in the special occasion.

Amongst the names of their respective deceased relatives, I suddenly heard the rabbi say my mother’s name. I was overwhelmed by the honor they had given my mother, and it stands as the most heart-warming gesture anyone has ever made in her memory.

Later, the bride told me that the rabbi had not wanted to include her name as “she was not related by blood,” but that she insisted on it.

Thank you, Sissa; I love you so much!

You Need Something? Shoot!

, , , , , , | Working | October 2, 2017

(I manage a chocolate shop. I have the weirdest, but most upbeat employees ever. One night, three police men walk in with full gear on.)

Head Police Officer: “We need to ask you a question.”

(One of my employees and I do the wide eyed “Oh, crap; which law did I break!” look.)

Me: “Sure. What’s up?”

Head Police Officer: “We are running a shooting drill in a week, and we need volunteers for it. You would just pretend to be running around or shot.”

Me: “THAT SOUNDS AWESOME!” *I stop and clear my throat.* “I’ll ask my employees and get back to you. Free samples?”

(All of my employees stayed late or showed up on their day off to do it. We didn’t get paid extra, but it was wicked fun to trade roles, calling 911, acting dead, or running and screaming through the mall.)

Self-Aware Takes Care

, , , , | Right | September 25, 2017

(My boyfriend works late on Valentine’s Day, so as a surprise, I call up one of our favorite restaurants to get some dinner.)

Employee: “[Deli Name], how may I help you?”

Me: “Hi there. I’d like two [sandwiches] for carry-out. I’d like those to be ready at about 7:15 tonight. You guys close at 7:30 tonight; is that correct?”

Employee: “Yes, that’s correct.”

Me: “Okay, be honest. Is it a total d*****-bag move on my part to request food that near to closing?”

Employee: *laughs* “No, it’s not. See you tonight.”

(At 7:15 pm:)

Me: *walking in the door* “Hi. I called in a carry-out order this morning.”

Employee: *laughs out loud and points at me* “You’re the one who’s not a d*****-bag!”

Me: “Haha, yep, that’s me. So, I’m still not one then?”

Employee: “Heck no! Here’s your food. I put some extra chips in there for you.”

(Sometimes it pays to be self-aware.)

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