So the boss rolls in one morning with about 20 people in tow, bearing some 'good news' for us. The same good news that bosses bring EVERY six months...
"Simon," he burbles pleasantly (always a bad sign), "these are the new staff that we've acquired in the past six months. I'm just running them through the IT induction course."
"Course?" I ask. "As in, obstacle?"
The boss chuckles magnanimously. "Simon fancies himself as a bit of a joker, ladies and gentlemen."
"Yes," the PFY concurs, slipping in from behind the assembled crowd of inductees, "like that time he slipped the darkroom timer, some curly wires and a couple of distress flares into your briefcase before you flew to Dublin..."
The boss winces at the mention - and I could almost swear his buttocks clenched in nervous recollection.
"That wasn't very funny," he mutters.
"Well, it made me laugh," the PFY cries.
"Anyway," the boss continues, glaring at the PFY. "I'd like you to show the group around the computer room."
As a sign of good faith, he hands over one of his most cherished possessions, a penlight laser pointer. Weird - this is like Obi-Wan passing Darth his light sabre "for cleaning".
Sadly, however, Obi-Wan's exit destroys the moment as he makes his way into the doorjamb, ricocheting into the corridor with all the panache of C3P0.
Still, there's trust being displayed here for some reason.
First, he gives me unsupervised access to a busload of newbies AND he's handed over something he values highly. Not that he doesn't value staff highly, of course, it's just that they're easier to replace. The laser pointer cost 30 quid of HIS money, which is why it's so disturbing to me when I accidentally - and I have witnesses to verify this - drop it down the gap between the lift door and the lift shaft. Sniffle.
Meanwhile, the sheep are following me, so I'd better put on a good show. "And this is our back-up system," I cry, indicating the monster robotic instrument as we move into the heart of the computer room, just to dispel any rumours that we don't perform this vital function.
"What was that bin under the back-up machine for?" a curious member of the audience asks once we leave the inner sanctum and return to mission control.
An interesting question - I had asked the PFY to stop back-ups so the users wouldn't witness tapes being 'exported' from the jukebox into the bin.
"Ah, that's to catch the tapes that are going to off-site storage," I ad lib. "We're waiting for the proper tape export cartridge, but in the interim..."
"Then why did that other guy just pour them all into the big bin?" he asks.
"Of course! If we shipped our tapes out in a tape box they'd be a sitting duck for theft!" I cry. "This way, no-one knows when the data's leaving the building."
"Well, it's just been tipped into a rubbish truck!" he responds, indicating a truck outside the window.
"It only looks like a rubbish truck," I sigh. "It wouldn't look at all convincing if a data storage company collected our rubbish now would it?"
"But they're collecting everybody's rubbish," he continues.
Funny how you go off people isn't it?
"Yes, yes, AGAIN, it would look suspicious. Quite a lot of things aren't what they seem. This handscanner, for example."
"That's not a hand scanner - it's a panini toaster!"
I sigh again, more deeply this time.
"LOOKS like a panini toaster. A volunteer from the audience please?" I ask.
Five seconds later...
"Ohmigoodness!" I cry (over the screams). "It's a real panini toaster! The PFY must have installed the scanner in the break room by mistake! And, oh no! The release catch is jammed!"
Ten minutes later, when waffle hand has been taken up to sick bay..."Any other questions?"
The silence is deafening, indicating another successful induction.
I take them back to the boss so he can give them the IT summarisation speech, then wander back to mission control.
"Ah, just come to get my pointer," he says.
What the hell. "It's sitting on top of the back-up stacker in the computer room," I respond, tapping away at the console of the doors system.
"But my card's not working!" he cries.
"Oh yeah. Here, I'll let you access it via the hand scanner..."