Friday, February 17, 2006

Going Straight to Hell

Sometimes the cheap and sadistic urge to bullshit the Completely Innocent becomes difficult to resist.

This afternoon a colleague at work had an Autocomplete brainfart, and a work-related email intended for someone named Anna in our office ended up in the Inbox of a completely different Anna who works for the same company but a continent away. The email was a request that "our" Anna, a graphic designer, include a particular design specification in a technical document we were collectively putting together. I was cc'd on the email, and noticed the error and forwarded the request to the proper Anna.

Some hours later, a Reply All came from the "wrong" Anna, to the effect that she didn't understand why she was receiving this request, that she was a video editor on the West Coast, and to please remove her from the distribution list.

It's Friday before a long weekend, and it's been a hellish week. I have written 100 pages of extremely infra dig technical documentation in the last two days -- no exaggeration -- and it's been feeling rather sweatshoppy of late, so it suddenly became extremely important to go Full-Metal Surreal on an Innocent Bystander:

"Quit tryin' ta dodge work! [I Replied All]

"If you don't add the spec to the document as requested, we're gonna shoot this puppy!

"See it? This puppy right here!"

I'm thinking the next move is to send The Wrong Anna a note from, and beg her to please add the spec to the document, because it's scary having these angry people waving guns at you. Perhaps in a quiet moment next week.


Many years ago, when Freddie was a young 'un, his favowittest book inna whole wi' worl' was a little thing about pirates. We read that goddamned book so many times together that we both could recite it in our sleep -- and frequently did, Wonder Woman informs me.

One page of the book listed The Pirate's Rules, all laid out in numerical order. Complete bullshit, of course, but very impressive to the four-year-old mind. Things like "1. One eighth part of all Booty is reserved for the Captain; the rest is shared equally by the Crew"; or "7. Any open flames below decks shall earn a man twelve stripes with the cat, yarrrr."

I got the tiniest bit fed up with The Pirate's Rules fairly early on in the game, and began to, as they say, Play with the Form. Taking inspiration from The Philosophy Department of the University of New South Wales, I began to regularly omit Rule Four from the list, saying instead, "Rule Four: There is no Rule Four, me hearties!"

All very innocent fun, of course, until one day I overheard a conversation coming from the back seat as I was ferrying a gaggle of Cub Scouts somewhere: "Did you know that pirates didn't believe in the number four?" "Get outta here!" "No, really! They wouldn't have Rule Four!"



Late Nineties. My annoyance with the lame pickups in my Jap-Strat reaches terminal velocity, and I gift myself a set of hot new Fender Vintage Noiseless replacements. Of course I have to install them myself, because that's how I am, and I get wiring diagrams off the Net and teach myself how to solder.

I have a rapt audience as I do this. What seven-year-old boy doesn't love to watch something like soldering? So I'm talking him through the whole process, tinning the iron, here's how an electric circuit works, careful that's hot, yadda yadda.

Then the most awful pun occurs to me.

"You know, Freddie, you have to be really extra-careful while you're doing this stuff. And keep insect spray around."

"Yeah, Dad? Why?"

"Because there are these little bugs that can get into the solder and ruin your job. They like to hide in electronic equipment, and they are the only creatures on earth that can live solely on molten lead. Know what they're called?"

"No, what, Dad?"

"Solder mites. Watch out for 'em, son."

Months later. Months and months later. Wonder Woman accosts me:

"What the hell have you been telling our son?"

"Why, what do you mean?"

"Little bugs called sodomites that live in the radio?"

Oh, yeah, I'm headed for the Hot Place. They're preparing a nice room for me.

Hey: Once I heard about a family that taught their kid to count, but deliberately left out the number seven. I could have done that, you know. I didn't.


Linkmeister said...

Or the gambler who taught his kid to count:

"One, Two, Six-to-four, Three"

Bob Dwire said...

Totally lame of you Ned to put all that effort into a pun that doesn't work in the real English speaking world.

Now, just spit on the tip of the iron, like this: wwxfw

Kevin Wolf said...

Never you mind them, Neddie. I for one appreciate some well-crafted Bullshit. Not that poorly constructed stuff so common these days.

Wren said...

As my daughter was growing up, it was:
"What's for dinner tonight, Mom?"
"Sauteed banana slug with gopher gut sauce, sweetie."
When she was four, she believed me. By the time she was seven, responses like this (and others far more creative) brought forth gales of giggles.
You rock, Neddie!

Neil Shakespeare said...

LOL! I have sodomites in my radio too. They love Rush Limbaugh...

teh l4m3 said...

Sheer evil. My friend Jessica's dad used to tell her that boneless chicken breasts came from boneless chickens that just flopped around the farm all day long. And that capers were pickled snake poop.

KCB said...

My youngest brother believed until he was an adult that marshmallows grew in farmer's fields, thanks to some quick-thinking bullshit my dad handed him on a road trip through cotton country when he was four or five.

The ability to bullshit on the fly is an important skill. Keep on keepin' on,qfbzwy.

Quinn said...

I was needing a good, good laugh today and this did it. I don't have any kids of my own; however, a number of friends have procreated and I've had a grand time teaching them some very annoying habits. My favorite was teaching a four year old the snotty "psh" while rolling his eyes. ( mom: "pick up your toys or you can't watch TV" - son: "psh" [exagerated eye-roll]). I got a phone call right away.

The Viscount LaCarte said...

Jesus is comin' back on a horse, and some of us are going straight up to Club Cumulus, even if we're drivin' off to work or school. Watch out pedestrians!

hrpxorl - didn't they ban that back in the 60's?

Bobby Lightfoot said...

Hee hee.

I got in trouble for lettin' Jarrett the twelve year old try a draught of Jack Daniels. It happens.

Many inappropriatenesses have resulted from stepping off the tour bus into parenthood. Teaching him the "hookers 'n' coke...hookers 'n' coke!" chant was equally nunplussing to his mum.

Kevin Hayden said...

Actually solder mites do exist according to the Idiot's Guide to Electronic Buggery.

They were first publicly identified while afflicting our former secretary of State. Eventually, when he spoke at the UN to make the case for war with Iraq, they swarmed Colin so bad, they literally wrecked 'im.

Steve said...

"The Philosophy Department of the University of New South Wales"
Now I'm doubly intrigued -- after clicking on the above link I got zapped by our corporate porn-watcher bot, complete with dire warning about sever consequences if I keep messin' with other suchlike.

Employee of the Month said...

"This here's a Wattle, the emblem of our corporate IT department."


fgfdsg said...

I once passed wind as a four year old and my father said "Careful, if you do that too hard you'll rip yourself". I lived in mortal fear of my insides falling out for the next few years.

James DC said...

In the Python vein, I once convinced my sister (who was 11 when we watched the "Erizabeth L" sketch) that Erizabethans actuarry tarked rike that, switching theil Rs and theil Ls. My brother and I congratulated ourselves on getting off a good one, then forgot about it entirely.

About a year later, she was called upon to recite a Shakespeare sonnet in front of the class.

nqfns - yet another in a long line of al-Qaida Number Twos

XTCfan said...

It's a time-honored tradition, Ned:

Calvin: Dad, how come old photographs are always black and white? Didn't they have color film back then?

Dad: Sure they did. In fact, those old photographs are in color. It's just the world was black and white then.

Calvin: Really?

Dad: Yep. The world didn't turn color until sometime in the 1930s, and it was pretty grainy color for a while, too.

Calvin: That's really weird.

Dad: Well, truth is stranger than fiction.

Calvin: But then why are old paintings in color?! If their world was black and white, wouldn't artists have painted it that way?

Dad: Not necessarily. A lot of great artists were insane.

Calvin: But... but how could they have painted in color anyway? Wouldn't their paints have been shades of gray back then?

Dad: Of course, but they turned colors like everything else did in the '30s.

Calvin: So why didn't old black and white photos turn color too?

Dad: Because they were color pictures of black and white, remember?

Steve, try this link.