Of Sheep and Machine

Selben entered the office one cold, winter morning, after some much-appreciated surprise time off. He was greeted by the office assistant Ditzy. Her radiant smile and reflection from the light on her shiny new desk was blinding. It was followed with a grunted acknowledgement from Peer, as he worked on her machine with his forehead furrowed. Deciding it was best to let Peer try to sort it out, he continued to his desk which still had a faint odor from before his vacation. Snickers had been given some time off as well from recent events, specifically involving an onion and mustard sandwich.

It wasn’t long before Peer came around the corner with shoulders lowered. Selben let out a sigh.

Selben: What’s up?
Peer: I don’t know. Ditzy’s machine wont power up.
Selben: Power light?
Peer: Nope.
Selben: Power cable?
Peer: Tested.
Selben: Ask hardware?
Peer: He said to ask you.
Selben: Any beeps or anything?
Peer: Nope.

Selben got up and followed Peer to Ditzy’s desk. The machine was completely dead. They got her a loaner machine and ordered a replacement, ticket closed. Selben attempted to return to his normal day, but after a couple hours he got a call from Sup2.

Sup2: Hey, Ditzy’s machine wont power on. Can you check it out?
Selben: I already did this morning with Peer.
Sup2: Well, her loaner is doing the same thing then.
Selben: Huh. Okay, I’ll check it out.

Yet again, the same symptoms—no power, dead machine. Selben replaced the surge protector and had Ditzy walk through how she turned on and used the machine. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary. She would get up and the machine would just die. Selben got her another loaner and chalked it up to the evil I.T. spirits.

A few days later, Selben arrived at work on another cold morning. He was still rubbing his hands together to warm them up, when Ditzy approached him with a frown. Apparently, the loaner computer wasn’t turning on anymore, either. By this point, she had gotten her manager involved and everyone was upset. Selben and Sup2 found her new machine had arrived and was ready to use, so they brought it out and hooked up her machine at her desk. She sat down, sliding forward a little as she leaned over to press the power button, other hand bracing herself on the desk. Selben saw a massive arcing bolt of static leap the last inch between her finger and computer.

Selben: Well, this one’s probably dead now too.
Sup2: What?

Ditzy repeatedly pushed the power button, but nothing happened.

Ditzy: HOW?!

The desk that Ditzy had recently received was one of those bent acrylic transparent desks. As it was cold, she had frequently been wearing wool leggings and wool skirts, which resulted in massive static buildups. She had been frying every machine she touched. She was advised to avoid wearing wool skirts until an anti-static floor mat could be provided, and the acrylic desk was removed.