Ralph's rage was the stuff of legend – and it was equaled only by his anal-retentiveness.

Ben had heard horror stories about Ralph and shrugged them off as exaggerations fostered by years of oral tradition. If the rumors were to be believed, Ralph could breathe fire and was the height of three men. Probably the stereotypical Nick Burns-esque IT guy, he reasoned.

That is, until Ben was at a colleague's downed PC. During the process, he moved some icons around on the desktop. "OH MY GOD DON'T DO THAT RALPH WILL BE SO ANGRY," she shouted with genuine fear. She begged Ben to move the icons back and not tell Ralph. Ben arched his eyebrow with confusion, but agreed.

After moving the icons back to their original positions, a wave of calm passed over his colleague. "Thank you. I can't tell you how upset and embarrassed I was last time." She went on to explain the tirade she'd received for setting her desktop wallpaper to the default, rather than the one that had received Ralph's blessing. She told of another colleague that had been reduced to tears after being chewed out for her copy of Outlook crashing. He'd refused to help users that used unauthorized mouse pads. Seriously. He wasn't Nick Burns – he was worse.

Not even their hardware vendors were free from Ralph's scorn, though at least they didn't have to deal with it directly. He arrived to work furious one day when he learned that HP was changing its numbering schemes for ink cartridges. Previously, each was identified by six or so characters (for example, "C8727A"), but now they're two numbers and (sometimes) a letter (in this case, "27"). It was a good move on HP's part, as they'd made everyones' lives easier.

Everyone except Ralph that is.

Ralph did the same thing that any poorly-adjusted, chemically-imbalanced, borderline-psychopathic IT guy would in this situation – fix their numbering scheme. His invention took him a morning to set up and put into practice. First, he drew up what was basically his numbering scheme's decoder ring. Each printer model was assigned a letter. The one nearest to his desk became "A." The second-closest on his floor was "B." And so on, until he'd hit all the printers in the office and used up a good portion of the alphabet. Similarly, he'd apply one of these labels to the corresponding ink cartridges.

After some unruly staff members rejected his numbering scheme, favoring the inferior labels from the vendor, Ralph had to take action. He reprinted all of the labels, this time using huge 5"x7" ones, which were large enough to obscure the whole box.

Still, the labels weren't completely opaque, so the users adopted a habit of holding it under a light to read the packaging beneath the labels. Of course, this made Ralph even more furious, so he took a Magnum 44 black marker which he used to angrily scribble over the entire label, any other exposed information not covered by the label, basically everything except for its Ralph Code. Users could no longer see the manufacturer's cartridge number or compatible printers; mission accomplished.

Unfortunately, Ralph had overlooked one crucial detail in his original plans – the 27 cartridge works in over a dozen different printer models. And since Ralph's brillant labeling system was printer-specific, he had to come up with something that would work without him having to admit that his original idea had been poorly conceived. When the next order of cartridges arrived and he had 27s that would work in printer A and printer N, he simply applied the label A to half of them, and N to the other half. Problem created by a solution to a non-existent problem created by Ralph solved!

Finally, he set out to make the master key document that would be used to match printers' locations to their Ralph Codes, and their associated ink cartridge numbers. The first draft of this document, however, was wildly inaccurate, effectively obliterating any real or imagined value from this crackpot labeling system.

Ralph has since been let go. And sadly, despite his best efforts, his ink labeling system didn't last beyond his termination date.

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