So, I’m the on-call this week. I hate being the on-call. I hate everyone who calls and I hate everyone at the helpdesk who forwards those calls to me. If I could kill with my mind, my every on-call would have a body count. I would be the greatest murderer of all time. Jim Jones would look like a Care Bear next to me.

At any rate, I have two stories to tell:

First: Friday I’m talking to a client about some work he wants to do on Saturday. We’re trying to schedule a time. I grit my teeth and tell him that whenever is good for him is good for me. He picks a time that means it will be impossible for me to go to brunch and finally meet a friend’s girlfriend – whom I failed to meet last time she was in town because I was on-call. Then he says, and I quote, “Well, really, just as long as we can be done early in the afternoon, any time works. I’ve got plans to get shit-faced at 3, so we have to be done by then.

Ah, yes, I told him. In that case, we needed to do it around 1 because I had brunch plans. Fair’s fair.

That day, once we were on the call, things went well and truly south. I was trying to figure out why The Thing We Were Doing wasn’t working when it occurred to me that The Thing We Were Doing didn’t make much sense in the first place. I very casually asked him why we were doing this and he said, “Because my boss is a fucking manager and doesn’t know what the fuck he’s doing, that’s why.

My response was the only word I could produce in that moment: “…Okay!”

Second story: we have a ticketing system that is based largely around email. When a ticket gets created, it automatically emails a copy of itself to the client involved. They can reply to that email and update the ticket themselves if need be. When we update the ticket it emails a new copy of the ticket log to the client. So on and so forth. It’s quite the clever little ticketing system in that it will spot quoted text from itself in a reply email and excise that so that a ticket log remains a fairly continuous conversation without a lot of quoted text from earlier entries.

Today a client emails us an error message they had received about an email they had sent that had been tagged as disallowed by the standards of their firewall. They sent the email with the following text at the top:

Do not sand me any email

So, a ticket gets cut. What does it do? Send that very email right back to the client. So they reply:

Do not sand me any email

…which causes them to get an email copy of the ticket log. Again. Several rotations of this later we get one last email response from them:


I laughed until I cried. I could just picture them sitting there sending us an email and immediately getting a reply back that simply quoted what they’d just sent and them, in turn, picturing us sitting there with an evil gleam in our collective eye and shooting them a response as quickly as possible, rubbing our hands together at the thought of their annoyance.

What was the very next ticket in the queue? That same client had tried to send their email again, gotten the rejection message again and forwarded it to us – generating another ticket and another automated response right back to them. This time their plea for silence read:

do not sand me any email do not

I laughed so hard I had to go outside. I still don’t know what we did with those tickets. I don’t care. Whatever it was, if we didn’t print and frame them to go on a wall then what we did was wrong.