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A True Story of hubris and revenge, unlike the HOPA with the white board

The story of the girl who quit her job with a series of white board messages that exposed her boss is now Just One More Hoax.

But this one isn’t.

Back in the Olden Dayes, before the ubiquitous internet and its myriad ways to fritter away the day, we had actual games that ran on the computers on our desks. No connectivity required. In this particular story, the venerable 9 inch screen Macintosh and a great little game called Crystal Quest. I worked for a small publishing company run by a guy with a crummy work ethic and worse hygiene and social skills. He was a contract publisher for a couple of professional associations that no one has ever heard of but fancied himself to be the heir to Henry Luce and Robert Maxwell. I arrived at the same time as a very competent print journalist, bringing with me a good understanding of desktop publishing (relatively new in 1988) and computers in general. The new guy and I were tasked with taking over an existing publication in an area about which we knew nothing while at the same time modernizing the rest of the operation. Ah, the valor of ignorance.

This boss we had was perhaps the laziest person I have ever known, coupled with an amazingly distorted self-image. He really thought he was the smartest guy in the room, which was never true, even when he was on the can. The examples have faded but I mention this to set the scene.

So one evening, my colleague and I were bearing down on our deadlines and the boss was at the other end of the suite bearing down on the staff of his other publication as they struggled with theirs. They were not the quickest on the uptake and he was an impatient jerk who didn’t know any more than they did. It was slow going and he wasn’t helping at all.

At some point, my colleague and I realized that while he was breathing down their necks, he was playing Crystal Quest. Just game after game, level after level, the sound carefully turned down, all while he pissed and moaned at his minions.

When he left for one of his several minute smoke (he smoked and chewed Nicorette, so deep was his addiction) and pee breaks, I walked to his desk, opened up a copy of ResEdit (which I always made sure I had handy), opened up the game with it and ripped a big non-surgical chunk of the CODE resource right out. Just deleted the stuff that made the program work. Just as quickly and quietly I returned to my desk to see the results.

Himself came back, strode over to his desk, sat and got back to work. But for some reason, his computer kept crashing and rebooting. A series of Macintosh startup “BONG” sounds rang out. After a time, he gave up. Perhaps he had other games. But the beauty of it was, he couldn’t ask for help without revealing what he had been doing.

Later he tried to fire me, I convinced him it was a mistake, and when I found another job, I faxed my resignation to the hotel where he was staying for a conference.

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