Thursday, May 19, 2011

Letter To IT Dept

To: IT Department
From: The person who sent you the fractured laptop with the mocha dripping from the fan vent
Date: Not sure, my interim computer is refusing to show me the calendar
RE: Aforementioned laptop from Hades

Dear IT guys,

Before I go into any great detail I would like to ask a question...
Why is it so blipping hard to reset passwords? I am willing to bet that a great deal of our IT guys’ time is eaten up with hand holding people through the “change the password” process, myself included. Now I am not new to computers, I have been breaking them since I was a kid. I have somewhere around 7 or 8 computers at my house that I personally have broken beyond repair by professionals. In fact they are so thoroughly broken the local garbage transfer station has refused to take any more them. I am proud of this fact. But with all of my knowledge and experience in ruining computers I find myself at a loss with the passwords for the different programs we use at work. I think this is not just workplace problem but possibly even a government conspiracy to keep us under control. Example: As long as I am worrying and dreading about that unholy little message that pops up eighteen times a day and says: “Your password expires in X days. Would you like to change it now?” I am not able to worry about anything else, like the government and how it is ran. Not to mention secretly harboring the sinking feeling that I must be as smart as a fir tree since I can’t seem to figure it out. And let me tell you having the mental capacity of a conifer is not the kind of thing you want to find out in your mid thirties. It’s like a nightmare when it pops up. I break out into a cold sweat and look for the nearest chair or something with which to crush this evil little laptop and its rotating passwords. Seriously, one password requires numbers, another requires no numbers, one has to be in caps, and one can only have some in caps. And don’t forget that they are each and every one on a different schedule of rotation for renewal. A complete series of horror movies could be written about this subject alone.
Okay, to the topic at hand. First you should know that it was an accident, I did not intentionally destroy another work computer. Second, you should be proud because I am a hero, in putting out the fire on the laptop I saved my coworkers, the building and the priceless medical equipment inside. Please do not listen to any reports from the above mentioned coworkers about the fire. They still hold a blame-placing attitude about the situation and are refusing to see how much safer they actually are because of my presence. I expect them to calm down at any moment and let me out of the bathroom without fear of bodily harm. I just wanted to fire off a quick email to you from behind the relative safety of the locked door and beg you for protective sanctuary. And also to explain the unusual circumstances before reports came in from those who do not have all the facts and are over reacting about the very minor burns they received. I blame the whole situation on the constant need to change my passwords.
So please sit back and let me try to paint a picture for you as to why, once again, my laptop is in front of you and why it smells like vanilla caramel coffee creamer and smoke.
I left the house with hot coffee and sunshine, the birds were singing, people were smiling, what a glorious morning. I got to work and had a short wrestling match with the stubborn lock on the door, both hands on the key and both feet on the wall twisting the key until my fingers bled. I still felt glad to be at work at this point, it should be noted. Once the door opened however is when my anxiety started. I encountered my first piece of technology and first password for the day, the alarm system. Now this system is, I am fairly certain, set up by a not so funny prankster at best or denizen of the abyss at worst. At any rate someone with the sole intent of making sure I am wide awake with the ol’ ticker pumping away before work started. It began to alarm the moment the door was opened warning me that I have exactly one second less than I need to make it across the room and enter the correct code before it sends the cops down on me in a blaze of gun fiery, tazing glory. Now try to keep in mind, my key was still stuck in the door lock, the same key that is attached to the lanyard around my neck. So, there I was, stretched out to my maximum possible reach plus two inches, my foot in the air and my longest finger frantically seizing against the keypad. I was acutely aware of the door slowly closing, effectively tightening the noose, er, lanyard, around my windpipe. Only as the world faded to darkness did I hear the satisfying beep of successful password entry. Whew! No cops today, I thought to myself as I gasped for breath and extricated my key from the lock. I was still happy, felt a little frayed, but ready for the day.
After I turned the lights on and sat at my little desk I hit the power button on the laptop and typed in my password. The computer loaded, slowly I might add, and there’s that little bundle of pixilated frustration. “You password will expire in....” (insert creative expletive here) I took a deep breath and a calming sip of coffee, six days and counting to D-day. Please remember that this message telling me to change my password shows up days before the actual day you MUST change it. I also would like to mention that under no circumstances will I willingly change the password early. Not when I know how every attempt at such turns out and will require me to humble myself and beg for help from you all. The anticipation and sense of impending doom gradually builds with each of the twenty six times a day that it darkens the screen of my notebook. So instead I ignored the warning and went about my merry way with this nagging reminder popping up forty two times.
I started the medical reporting software and hit ignore on the “change my password” message yet again. Everything went fine until about thirteen minutes later and I had to log in again. See, after a few minutes of inactivity the medical reporting software logs a person off, to protect patient privacy. This means that several times a day I have to log back in, triggering the password message. That was when I noticed something. It was the same day but now said four days to D-day. My heart skipped a beat and I glanced around suddenly feeling eyes on the back of my head. I will admit that my first thought was that someone from the IT department was messing with my computer in some perverse attempt at getting jollies from my fear. But in retrospect I know that none of you would do this, right?
Each time I logged in after this the number of days dropped by one. By lunch time I was no longer having fun and seriously thinking about telling the boss I was sick and checking into a psychiatric ward to hide until the whole password situation had been resolved. In fact that is a good idea, we should consider adding such a floor to our facility for employees that have had to change their passwords one time too many.
Finally, around mid afternoon it happened, the message telling me that I could no longer log in. Of course, at this time we had approximately twenty two patients in the waiting room and I was scribing for the doctor who was performing laser surgery on an eye. My blood pressure then spiked high enough that there was an audible whistle as it careened through my veins. And doctors, as a rule, are not very tolerant of audible whistling during any type of surgery, let alone one on an eye.
With a full on flight or fight response and gallons of pure adrenaline pumping through me I attempted to change my password myself, hands shaking against the keys. The staccato pop of the laser firing into an eye could be heard as I typed in my new password. What happened next started out utterly predictable and quickly progressed past that into the realm of the unbelievable.
Computer: “Your password is not accepted, your new password must be more then three characters different then your old password! Please try again.”
“You’re writing these numbers down, right?” The Doctor asked sternly, still irritated about the whistling.
“Uh, yes sir.” I stuttered.
Now I am memorizing numbers from the doctor while trying to think of my new password and calm the patient who is getting nervous about the assistant who suddenly seems to be drenched with sweat and mumbling to himself like a madman.
Computer: “Your password is not accepted, your new password must have at least one capital letter and one character! Please try again.”
The doctor gasped at me, “That is not appropriate language, are you still getting all this?”
“YES! YES I AM!” I am now surround by my own little puddle of sweat.
Computer: “Your password is not accepted, you forgot to hold the Ctrl button and stand on your head while typing it backwards! Please try again.”
“Is he okay? I know CPR.” The patient is now very dubious of having good medical help.
The doctor: “I'm not sure, he keeps twitching and mumbling cusswords...”
The laser is still popping.
I must have been a sight, sitting there shaking, typing and repeating ten sets of numbers out loud, praying the computer would give in.
It worked! “Your password has been accepted. Your computer will now reboot. I hope you saved whatever you were working on prior to starting the password changing process.” The screen light went dark.

I cannot be sure at what point the laptop got between the laser and the patient. There was too much chaos in the ensuing moments of evacuation and fire suppression. The fire department said fighting the fire with my coffee was a brilliant stroke of genius and made the room smell good as well. I suggested they not waste too much time in the investigation of the fire as sometimes accidents do happen and I was not holding our company financially responsible. (Although, I would like a reimbursement on my giant-sized, coffee mug and perhaps some new scrubs.) But that's not a problem for you guys down at IT. I'll forward the appropriate papers for that later, when there's not so much yelling and beating on the bathroom door.
So if you guys could please send the police over to help free me and send over another laptop, I will be able to leave the bathroom and give my coworkers computer back to her. Also I will require help resetting my passwords as I have forgotten what I typed in before things got so exciting.

Yours truely and thanks in advanced


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