The Register


As the PFY speeds out of control, he gains some worthy respect from the Bastard. It seems birds of a feather will soon be flocking to the group therapy class...

So, the PFY gets in a little late (shame on him) and I have the sad task of informing him that the boss is keen to see him. Real keen.

"Why is that?" he asks, wondering why he's being graced with a private interview.

"Oh, some complaint," I respond.


"Yeah, the Linux-geek wannabe from R&D has complained about you."

"Which Linux geek wannabe?"

"You remember - the one you told to link /dev/null to his paging device."

"What happened?"

"Dunno, his machine mysteriously crashed about 10 seconds later..."

"But I didn't..."

"Of course you didn't - I did, but I said I was you."


"But what really surprised me was when you called back in the afternoon to fix his crashing problems, told him his CPU was hot swap-upgradable, and then sent him that replacement processor with a couple of its more vital legs missing. By the time he had got round to putting the old one back in, it was in the same state. Mysteriously..."

"I AM a bastard, aren't I?" the PFY gasps.

"Yes, I couldn't believe it myself," I concur.

"But why would I do such a thing?"

"I don't know," I reply. "It could be that he complained about your, I mean my, shoddy handling of a toner cartridge replacement last week. Or it could be that you were afraid of having to deal with Linux problems all the time. Or it could just be some manifestation of a deep-seated mental upset which you have."

"What mental upset?" asks the PFY.

"Far be it for me to go delving into your psyche, but you could be suffering from some base-level anti-sociopathic tendencies..."

"Sociopathic or anti-sociopathic?"

"Is there a difference?"

"I don't know..."

The discussion of the PFY's need to debase users with higher technical knowledge (and the reasons behind it) are cut off by the ring of the phone...

"Well, here's your chance to find out. That looks like your R&D guy ringing back to find out why ps and a whole other batch of utilities aren't working any more."

"Why's that?"

"Well, I'd be guessing, but I think you might have advised him to unlink his /proc directory."

"But you can't do that?!" refutes the PFY.

"Not with conventional weapons, no. But with that quickly hacked-up program you sent him, it was a piece of cake."

"Oh, but I've got to go see the boss!"

"Yes, I think you should. And I'd take the approach that you're being framed."

"He'll never buy it," whimpers the PFY.

"Oh, I don't know - I think he might, after you put that line in the inetd.conf file, which causes any Telnet to port 187 on his machine to copy junk stdin to the kernel memory..."

"I'm out of control aren't I?"

"You are. You need help!"

"Where am I going to get it?"

"From a specialist. The company has a counsellor for that sort of thing you know."


"Yes, you remember - the one that called us borderline megalomaniac machiavellian types."


"Yes, shortly before you uploaded that virus to her machine under the guise of an email to make an appointment to see her..."

"So, when am I going?!"

"Looks like we both have to go to a group therapy thing tomorrow..."

"Can't wait."

"Ah well, health is health, and an ounce of prevention is worth three hours of holiday..."