Wednesday, April 26, 2006

On the edge of a cliff

or should that be cliffhanger?

Quite some years ago I worked with a Born Again Christian by the name of Cliff. As you might imagine, given the rubbish I write, his born againness didn't overmuch impress me but I can live and let live. If someone wants to go overboard on their sincerity to the cause of Jesus I'm perfectly happy to let them, so long as they don't try and evangelise to me! Nope, let me correct that, so long as they don't try and evangelise period!

A difficult call; where is the line between mentioning enthusiasm for something and ramming it down your throat? I think the line is reached when the target of the evangelism starts exhibiting signs of terminal boredom or similar. By that measurement Cliff failed to notice.

Cliff was also afflicted with a lack of humour. Almost the most dour man I've ever met and as such, ripe for the teasing. So one afternoon I asked, almost casually...

'Hey Cliff, got any nude pictures of your wife?'

Stony glare and a curt 'no!'

'Wanna buy some?'

Boom boom!

But he got me good for that little prank. This was back in the days when I was working on Unix systems; thank god I've been able to move on to Windows. A much nicer environment. When I logged on to the system the next morning my home directory looked all wrong. It's a long time ago and I can no longer remember which files I should have seen; all I remember is that they weren't there; instead I had a bunch of single letter directories. Checking into a few of those revealed a lot more single letter directories. And so on, following the chain down. Eventually the penny dropped. He'd run a script, as root, against my home directory, which had taken every file and sub-directory, broken the names down character by character and created subdirectories. My files still existed, under random names, deep at the bottom of a very many layered subdirectory structure.

What a bastard! :-)

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