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Tuesday, April 20, 2004

Think Before You Speak #2 

A co-worker is having some difficulty with her computer. As I walk by, she stops me and requests assistance. I study the display on her monitor, tap a few keys, and tell her that the problem is "error code peter 4". She demands an explanation, but I admit my ignorance. I do, however, helpfully point out that another co-worker, G, experienced this very same problem less than a week ago, and that G was clever enough to figure out how to fix it. I advise her to yell at G, on the other side of the room, and ask him what a "peter 4" is.

She stands up, locates G, and yells: "Hey, G, what's a peter 4?".

Almost immediately, she realizes how her query sounded to our co-workers, who are now popping up out of cubicles like prairie dogs, all of them looking wide-eyed in disbelief at our heroine, a mother of three. Our heroine, however, has flopped back down in her chair and, while covering her very red face with one hand, she is striking wildly at me with the other. I, however, have fallen into a corner of her cubicle, laughing hysterically. She finally turns and peeps between two fingers to see why she isn't making contact when she swings at me, since by now she is laughing also, which makes her even more determined to knock my lights out. Discovering me on the floor, she spins her chair around and commences kicking at me. As luck would have it, she prefers to work comfortably, and so, as is her practice, she has kicked off her shoes and is pounding me with her bare feet, which tickle, causing me to laugh even harder.

Presently G arrives, eager to explain to our heroine what a peter is 4; unfortunately, G gets too close and she lets him hold one in the gut. G manages to clamp his mouth shut before all of the air rushes out of his lungs, and he is now leaning over our heroine, making a high-pitched, sqeaky noise, with his cheeks puffed up and his eyes bulging. Our heroine, apparently believing G might be about to lose his lunch on her, jumps up and darts out of her cubicle. Never one to pass up an opportunity to escape after I have instigated some sort of mischief, I vacate the cubicle also. However, I notice that our heroine, concerned about what G might be about to do to her chair, is getting a little green herself. Since she had not completely recovered from her previous red, I guess her color now would be something like shartruce. I consider telling her to keep an eye on G, and if he throws up, save the chunky pieces and we'll make a pizza later, but I am afraid this might start a chain reaction, so I decide to file it away. I am certain that our heroine will present me with the opportunity to use it sooner or later.