Bob was in the process of shutting down a software company that he had built over the past seven years. He had found a buyer for all of the software that he'd developed, collected his "eff you money" and was now retiring.

In fact, things were at the point where Bob had already closed the building and redirected the phones to his home phone with a distinctive ring so that he could tie up loose ends while the building was up for sale.

Bob woke one morning at 8:00am to the phone ringing, crawled out of bed and picked up the ‘Bat Phone,' as he called it, in the living room.

"Hello?" Bob said, and gave the name of the company.

Without preamble or introduction, Bob was informed by a woman's voice, "Hi this is Sally Brumbaker, my user id is smb1985. My computer's frozen."

Bob didn't recognize the voice and certainly not the name. Also, it was before coffee. "Your computer's frozen?" Bob affirmed.


"Is the side cold?" Bob asked matter of factly.

"Wait a minute," replied Sally, and then after a pause, "No not at all."

"Ok, then," Bob assured her. "Your computer's not frozen, then, it's probably just running a program. Give it a minute."

"I don't understand, what do…" the woman began, and then, "Oh, ok. There is goes." and that, she hung up the phone and Bob did the same, thinking about how much cream to put into his coffee.


The ‘Bat Phone’ rings. Though the company had long been put to bed, Bob was suddenly reminded of was that he’d forgotten to stop the phone service.

"Hello?" Bob asked, and with a little hesitation, gave the name of his (now non-existent) company.

"Hello,” introduced the caller in a very serious tone, “I need to speak to someone in charge of your technical support."

"Well, that's pretty much me,” replied Bob, “What do you need?"

"Did you or someone working for you tell Sally So-And-So that she could tell if a computer was frozen by feeling the side?"


"Sally says she called this number three months ago, and was informed by a support tech that she could tell if a PC was frozen by feeling for the side being cold. Since then, she's been feeling the sides of people's computers, and she's completely humiliated."

"Sally works in your IT department?" Bob asked.

"No, Sally is the Director of our human resources department," Bob was informed.

"And this is...?"

"I sit on the board for Plainston-Princeboro Teaching Hospital."

"I see. So, Sally hires doctors and nurses."

"She does - and now she's been humiliated by you or someone at your company,” huffed the voice on the phone,” What do you have to say for yourself?"

"Well, first," Bob answered, "I'd like to say that, if I get seriously hurt, I'll drag myself right past YOUR hospital."


"Sir," Bob said, with great sincerely, "you have to admit, that's pretty dumb."

Suddenly, the man on the other end of the line was at a sudden loss for words.

"Ok," he said finally, a little deflated, "Sally isn't the most computer savvy person we have, but that doesn't give you the right to prey on her..."

"Sir," Bob said, "I took that call, Sally didn't identify herself, and as soon as she thought she had an answer from me, she hung up the phone before I could explain that I was kidding. I'm sorry if I humiliated her, but I have no idea how she got my number and this isn't a computer technical support company."

"Oh, I see," the person informed Bob. "We’ll, just be more careful, next time,” and with that, hung up the phone.

Since then, Bob disconnected the ‘Bat Phone’ for good, officially severing himself from his old life, but still gets a chuckle thinking of a smartly dressed executive going through the hospital, troubleshooting issues by feeling the sides of PC's and telling their users whether they were frozen of not.

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