Mr. Murphy moved into my office last week. He’s caused me a considerable amount of pain and annoyance in the last 7 days.
I have 20 lab machines that are a particular Dell model, known to have a hardware problem. Last year, I replaced four of them. On Monday, last week, 15 of the remaining 16 failed simultaneously. That’s just the beginning.
Today, the monitor on my desk decided that no, it wasn’t going to display 1680×1050 anymore. Period. Nope, not gonna do it! 1440×900 on this monitor makes me want to tear out my eyes. Viewsonic is requiring me to dance the Red Tape Dance to get a replacement shipped out. 10 days is the best estimate. If I have to look at this for 10 days, I’m going to be in crazy land, not to mention have one shattering long-term headache.
Everything I’ve touched in the last 8 days has been a prerequisite hell problem… in order to fix [foo], I first have to fix [bar], and before I fix [bar], I have to fix [foobar], and before I fix [foobar], I have to first find an invoice, and a receipt, and talk on the phone to someone who has a checklist written for a complete technical neophyte that requires each box to get a little black check mark before we can move on to the next line, and there’s 40 of them, and it takes an hour to convince the other person that I’ve already tried all this, thank you, I’ve been doing this job for 15 years and for chrissake just SEND ME THE PART, I CAN’T FIX [bar] or [foo] until I fix [foobar] and I can’t do that until the part GETS HERE.
This happens a lot when you work in IT (this is why #23). Usually you only have to deal with problems like this every once in a while, though. I have the Murphy’s Touch this week.
This would not be a good time for friends or relatives to call me and ask me for advice on fixing their computer. If I answer the phone, the probability is high your machine is going to outright explode. I’m just saying.
(Note: all of this is bunk. There is no magic rule that says these things happen. There’s just a huge desire for there to be a rule, because frustration this great is doubled when there is no cause.)