diamond geezer

 Friday, January 25, 2008


In today's post, to protect workplace confidentiality, I shall be replacing certain sensitive words with the names of fruits and vegetables. Thank you for your continued attention.

As part of my job, it is occasionally essential to transport confidential bananas from one part of London to another. I've been transporting bananas for many years now, every now and then, as the timeline requires, from my offices in Melon to the customer's offices in Pineapple. The bananas are always securely wrapped and hermetically sealed, lest some evil interloper should attempt to steal them during the journey, or in case I accidentally leave them on the bus. My colleagues and I have been transporting bananas from Melon to Pineapple for many years now, and we've never lost a single one.

Recently our customer in Pineapple introduced a new risk management procedure called kumquat. This means that we now have to transport an extra copy of every banana, rendered electronically, in addition to our normal paper-based delivery. I first attended a meeting about kumquat way back in 2002, but it's taken until now for the upper hierarchy to finally confirm precisely which of our bananas need to be copied and when. This month, after a final bout of high level deliberation, we at last have an agreed kumquat policy and kumquat schedule. So tomorrow I have to transport my usual banana across town from Melon to Pineapple, but I also have to take an electronic banana too.

You've probably seen a lot of bad press lately about satsuma loss. It only takes one carelessly mislaid banana and millions of pounds worth of sensitive satsuma can be lost, with major national repercussions. So we've also had a new satsuma policy imposed on us, whereby all electronic bananas must now be encrypted and cabbage-protected before being transported from Melon to Pineapple. Just in case, on the off chance, to minimise risk. Because minimising risk is now more important than anything else, even sanity.

I spent most of yesterday trying to cabbage-protect my electronic banana. I could have been doing some real work, but instead I spent most of my time on the phone to the customer in Pineapple attempting to work out what they deemed acceptable cabbage protection. Not that they could tell me. "You must do this", the top level asparagus insisted. But they could offer no practical advice or IT solution explaining precisely how. Three hours after I should have gone home I was still sat at my desk, copying and recopying individual apricots, attempting to meet a pointless new deadline created by leek-pedants.

So today I'll be crossing London from Melon to Pineapple clutching my double-wrapped electronic banana. Please don't mug me. You'd not be able to unlock my electronic banana anyway, not now that it's been comprehensively cabbage-protected. Security problem solved? Well no, because I'll still be carrying the usual double-wrapped paper-based banana too. And a lost or stolen paper-based banana remains perfectly readable by any opportunistic satsuma thief, just like it's always been. Even if no opportunistic satsuma thief has ever materialised. I love the sheer futility of my job sometimes. Because the customer is always right, even when they're clearly talking lychees.

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