We’re backed up!

Back in the 70s, disk drives were about the size of washing machines. One type had two disk platters: one was embedded and could not be removed except by a technician, and the other was in a large plastic shell and was easily removable. Each platter held five megabytes. Yes, that’s right: five whole megabytes, an insignificant amount of space now but humongous then.

Many used this dual platter drive to keep their operating system and database on the embedded one, and at the end of the day they’d copy it to the removable one. Then they would open the disk drive, take out the removable disk, store it in a safe, insert a new removable disk, and close the drive. Then they’d be ready for business the next day.

We got a call one morning from a customer when I used to work for an Orange County computer support firm. He couldn’t boot. One of the techs went over to have a look and found that the embedded disk had a bad sector. It would need to be replaced.

  • Technician: “The embedded disk is bad. Are you backed up?”
  • Customer: “Yes!”

So the technician replaced the disk, snapped the old one in half so it would fit in the garbage can, and threw it away.

  • Technician: “I’m done — she’s all yours.”
  • Customer: (after playing with the system a bit) “I can’t find any of my data.”
  • Technician: “Right — you’ll have to restore it.”
  • Customer: “What does ‘restore’ mean?”
  • Technician: “Uh, it means you have to RESTORE it from a copy.”
  • Customer: “Copy? What copy?”
  • Technician: “The one you make every night.”
  • Customer: “WE DON’T HAVE A COPY!!!”
  • Technician: “When I asked you if you were backed up, you said YES!”
  • Customer: “We ARE backed up! We’re SO backed up that we haven’t had time to make any recovery disks!”

Goodbye Mother

Walking through a supermarket, a young man noticed an old lady following him around. He ignored her for a while, but when he got to the checkout line, she got in front of him.

“Pardon me,” she said. “I’m sorry if I’ve been staring, but you look just like me son who died recently and he used to have kids clothes just like yours.

“I’m sorry for your loss,” the young man replied. “Is there anything I can do for you?”

“Well, as I’m leaving, could you just say ‘Goodbye, mother!?’ It would make me feel so much better.” She gave him a sweet smile.

“Of course I can,” the young man promised.

As she gathered her bags and left, he called out “Goodbye, mother!” just as she had requested, feeling good about her smile.

Stepping up to the counter, he saw that his total was about $100 higher than it should be. “That amount is wrong,” he said. “I only have a few items!”

“Oh, your mother said that you would pay for her,” explained the clerk.

The young businessman

A young businessman had just started his own Irvine web design company. He rented a beautiful office and had it furnished with antiques. Sitting there, he saw a man come into the outer office. Wishing to appear the hot shot, the businessman picked up the phone and started to pretend he had a big deal working.

He threw huge figures around and made giant commitments. Finally he hung up and asked the visitor, “Can I help you?”

The man said, “Yeah, I’ve come to activate your phone lines.”

Where’s the fire?

A photographer for a national magazine was assigned to take pictures of a great forest fire. He was advised that a small plane would be waiting to fly him over the fire. He was mumbling about how they couldn’t have chosen to use one of those live video casting solutions.

The photographer arrived at the airstrip just an hour before sundown. Sure enough, a small Cessna airplane was waiting. He jumped in with his equipment and shouted, “Let’s go!” The tense man sitting in the pilot’s seat swung the plane into the wind and soon they were in the air, though flying erratically.

“Fly over the north side of the fire, ” said the photographer, “and make several low-level passes.”

“Why?” asked the nervous pilot.

“Because I’m going to take pictures!” yelled the photographer. “I’m a photographer, and photographers take pictures!”

The pilot replied, “You mean you’re not the flight instructor?”

Insurance claims

The following are actual statements found on insurance forms where car drivers attempted to summarize the details of an accident in the fewest possible words. The instances of faulty writing serve to confirm that even incompetent writing can be highly entertaining.

  1. Coming home I drove into the wrong house and collided with a tree I don’t have.
  2. The other car collided with mine without giving warning of its intention.
  3. I thought my window was down, but I found it was up when I put my head through it.
  4. I collided with a stationary truck coming the other way.
  5. A truck backed through my windshield into my wife’s face.
  6. The guy was all over the road. I had to swerve a number of times before I hit him.
  7. I pulled away from the side of the road, glanced at my mother-in-law and headed over the embankment.
  8. In an attempt to kill a fly I drove into a telephone pole.
  9. I had been shopping for plants all day and was on my way home. As I reached an intersection a hedge sprang up, obscuring my vision and I did not see the other car.
  10. I had been driving for forty years when I fell asleep at the wheel and had an accident.
  11. I was on the way to the doctor with rear end trouble when my universal joint gave way causing me to have an accident.
  12. As I approached an intersection a sign suddenly appeared in a place where no stop sign had ever appeared before. I was unable to stop in time to avoid the accident.
  13. To avoid hitting the bumper of the car in front I struck a pedestrian.
  14. My car was legally parked as it backed into another vehicle.
  15. An invisible car came out of nowhere, struck my car and vanished.
  16. I told the police that I was not injured, but on removing my hat found that I had a fractured skull.
  17. I was sure the old fellow would never make it to the other side of the road when I struck him.
  18. The pedestrian had no idea which way to run as I ran over him.
  19. I saw a slow moving, sad faced old gentleman as he bounced off the roof of my car.
  20. The indirect cause of the accident was a little guy in a small car with a big mouth.
  21. I was thrown from my car as it left the road. I was later found in a ditch by some stray cows.
  22. The telephone pole was approaching. I was attempting to swerve out of the way when I struck the front end.

You wouldn’t use those for any insurance marketing would you?

Check the milk

I had a friend looking to lose weight without messing with diet pills, so I told her that she should switch to lower-fat foods; including skim milk. When she said her family would only drink whole milk, I suggested that she keep their regular container and refill it with skim milk. This worked for quite a while, until her daughter asked, one morning, whether the milk was okay.

“Sure, it’s fine,” my friend answered, fearing she had been found out. “Why do you ask?”

“Because according to the bottle,” the daughter explained, “this milk expired two years ago.”

Driving instructor

I pride myself on being patient when teaching driver education, something I have done for 30 years. I have encountered many, many students (including a couple with adhd symptoms), who didn’t seem to be able to hit the floor with their hat. But one incident was just too much.

I had a sweet young thing behind the wheel for the first lesson of the semester. She had volunteered to go first and seemed ready to show the other two kids how well she could drive. We left the rural school and started toward town.

As we approached the first stop sign, the young lady gave no sign that she saw it. We got closer, but she still did not slow down. Finally, I used the “teacher’s brake” pedal, on my side of the car, to get us stopped.

When I asked her why she didn’t slow down to stop for the stop sign, she replied, “but, Mr. Smith, the speed limit is 35 ALL the way to the stop sign!”