The Humor and Life, in Particular Web site
author:  Margie Culbertson

June/July 2000 Humor Writing Contest Winner
Best Short Humor!

Don't Turn it Off!


Peter Neill

Greystones, County Wicklow,


This incident dates back to 1998 when I was an employee of a very large IT company on the North Side of Dublin. My position there was as a junior member of the IT support team. A team supporting 650 users.

One day one of the other guys on the team asked me to head down to one of the Server Rooms and shutdown a particular server. It was a none critical server, so there was no issue with doing this, at least not yet...A brief amble later I arrived at my final destination, and entered the server room. It seemed more like a scene from a NASA film with huge fans and blinking lights everywhere. The Server I was to shutdown was called "Dub06". It was connected along with 5 other servers to a single Keyboard, Mouse and monitor via a switch box. I selected the corresponding button on the switch box to give me control over "Dub06". All fine there. I then told the computer to shutdown and after about two minutes I got the message saying

"It is now safe to switch of your computer". Grand I thought, I reached over to the left to the front panel of "Dub06" and hit the power button. As I pressed the power button in I had a moment of horror, this machine was not "Dub06", it was in fact "Dub01". This was not good, "Dub01" was the server that housed all the files those 600 people were working on and I was about to turn this off in the middle of what they were doing!.

Those of you in the know will remember that in the late nineties the power switch on a computer did not turn it off until after you released your finger from the button, ie. When it clicked back out after you pressing it in.

Thankfully I realized before I let go of the button that if I continued to hold the button in the machine would not turn off. At this point I breathed a little sight of relief, albeit too soon, as I thought "All I need to do now is call the IT department and tell them to get everyone to close what they are working on, thus allowing me to restart this machine safely.

I looked to my right, to where I expected to find a phone. All I found instead was a phone minus a handset, and no speaker phone option. "Grand" I thought, "I'll just use my mobile". Wrong again, I took out my mobile and because the server room was located in the basement, no signal whatsoever!!

I now started to panic. I was standing in a server room, unable to move with my finger and arm starting to ache while holding this button down. There was no one else with me, and unlikely to be anyone ese coming and if I let my finger off the button I loose my job.

In my desperation I looked around for options and then like a vision of an angel I saw a phone sitting on a tall stool behind me, about 10 feet away from me. Out of reach.

I now felt like crying, but shortly after a cunning plan entered my head. I proceeded to take my right shoe off and aimed it at the bottom off the stool, in the hope that it would cause the stool to fall toward me. A delicate operation considering I was still holding the button down with my left hand. Sadly I missed. I took off my second shoe, took careful aim and A HIT!!. But it wobbled and failed to fall, the phone hanging over the edge as if to tease me.

Finally as my panic worsened, I realized I had now only one chance, my trousers. I dare any of you to remove your trousers with one hand while out stretching the other arm to a fixed point from which it cannot move or your in serious trouble. Not easy!!

After a few minutes careful fumbling I am holding one leg of my trousers in my hand, standing in the server room holding a button in for dear life itself, trouserless, shoeless, shameless and exposing my boxers to my surroundings. A nice combination.

My button pressing arm was now in total agony, lactic acid and all that good stuff. I started to swing my trousers at the stool in the hope of catching the stool/phone and bringing it toward me.After about 20 total misses a very very near miss where I almost knocked the phone away from me I managed to catch the phone and tug it forward crashing to the floor toward me. Thank the Lord!!

I now managed to reach to the phone with my toes and slide it toward me. Once it got within range I picked it up, and found it had survived the crash to the floor! I dialed the IT dept and after about 15 minutes the IT dept got everyone to close their files. I was safe!!However all did not end there. I asked the person on the phone not to send anyone down to me for reasons I would explain to her later. Big mistake! I had an audience of about 40 people in those last 15 minutes. The sight of me standing there semi nude with the server made a few people wonder about strange fetishes. Laughs were had, concerns for my mental health were highlighted, insults were made and my self respect was decimated. Score!

Moral of the story:  Removing ones trousers should not be treated as a universal remedy to everyday problems.

©Peter Neill

My name is Peter Neill. I live in Greystones, in County Wicklow, Ireland. I only got into writing in the last year and so far only write about various situations I have found myself in over the last ten years. I seem to have a knack for attracting these situations, the only problem is that if they stop happening, I may have to stop writing! I'm newly married, April 2005 and my wife and I were married by my father who happens to be a cleric. My philosophy on life is to live for others as much as your self and to look to god as much as possible, while having as much fun as possible along the way : )

Strange as it may seem I am about to share with you yet another disaster which involves my trousers. I'm not sure what it is about me and trousers, but it always seems to end in tears. Perhaps I'd look better in a kilt? Probably not.

Other publications of mine can be found at "Gizmos":  Click HERE.

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©Margie Culbertson

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