Just because you’re paranoid…

August 28, 1997

I’m not a technophobe. I think machines are like their makers. Some are good, some are bad, and some are really out to get me. Take, for instance, the snack machine down the hall that supposedly takes dollar bills. The other day I had a bill that was perfect. I’ve dabbled in numismatics, so I know what I was talking about when I say that it was in almost uncirculated condition. I put it in correctly, and the machine spit it out. I rubbed it along the wall to eliminate that verrry slight wallet crease, and tried again. Still it spit it back. I don’t understand why these machines will take ratty, old, disintegrating bills, but refuse new ones. I tenderized the bill some more, and tried again. It refused it. The machine also teases me. It starts to take the bill, then suddenly decides it doesn’t want it. This went on for some time. I tried turning the bill around and putting it in. That almost worked until the machine realized who it was dealing with. Finally I tried another bill. It took it–acceptance at last! Suddenly the machine started beeping, and the "Coins only" light came on.

In case you’re wondering why this is early, it’s because I won’t be here tomorrow. Monday is also a holiday for some of us, so remember this simple holiday rule: Everything taken to excess is bad for you, and that includes moderation.


Blamestorming – sitting around in a group discussing why a deadline was missed or a project failed and who was responsible

Body Nazis – hard-core exercise and weight-lifting fanatics who look down on anyone who doesn’t work out obsessively

Chainsaw consultant – an outside expert brought in to reduce the employee headcount, leaving the top brass with clean hands

Cube farm – an office filled with cubicles

Ego surfing – scanning the Net, databases, print media, and so on, looking for references to one’s own name

Elvis year – the peak year of something’s popularity — Barney the dinosaur’s Elvis year was 1993.

404 – someone who is clueless, from the World Wide Web error message "404 Not Found", meaning the requested document couldn’t be located – "Don’t bother asking him, he’s 404."

Idea hamsters – people who always seem to have their idea generators running

Mouse potato – the on-line generation’s answer to the couch potato

Ohnosecond – that minuscule fraction of time in which you realize you’ve just made a big mistake

Prairie dogging – something loud happens in a cube farm, and people’s heads pop up over the walls to see what’s going on

SITCOM – stands for Single Income, Two Children, Oppressive Mortgage

Stress puppy – a person who thrives on being stressed-out and whiny

Tourists – those who take training classes just to take a vacation from their jobs — "We had three serious students in the class; the rest were tourists."

De-installed – euphemism for being fired

Xerox subsidy – euphemism for swiping free photocopies from a workplace

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