Bathroom.


Before I start this section, I want to make it clear that Active Software is not full of moronic employees. The people here are very smart and talented, but just like everyone, they do goofy/dumb things. The names below have been changed to protect the guilty.

So, here follows a legendary adventure of one infamous Active Software employee.

"Doofus's" bathroom debacle

I arrive at my desk one Tuesday morning, to have this e-mail in my mailbox:

From: Doofus
Sent: Tuesday, March 25, 1997 1:25 AM
Subject: Bathroom horror

The worst nightmare of every Active Software employee just came true for me.

I got locked in the bathroom zone! Argh!!!

You're probably thinking something along the lines of "Doofus is such an idiot! Why didn't he bring his access card with him?".

I have always known that the day was coming where I would forget my access card while going to the bathroom, and the unthinkable would happen. But this wasn't that time. Well, it was the time for the unthinkable part.

However, this time I DID bring my access card with me! But the access card reader by the bathroom access door isn't working! (Facilities might want to do something about this.) Too bad I didn't notice this on the way TO the bathroom instead of coming FROM the bathroom.

So I'm standing there fruitlessly holding my access card against the reader, hoping that if I wait long enough something will happen. But I already know this is hopeless because the little red light isn't even on.

Of course now I start pounding on the door. Then I start pounding really hard. I notice that the door is quite solid. I continue to make random shouting and pounding noises until I finally come to accept that there is nobody here.

Now I'm thinking "This isn't so bad, I'll just go out through one of these other doors." Uh, right. As if Executive Travel is going to leave their doors unlocked in the middle of the night just in case some hapless Active Software employee needs a way to escape from the bathroom.

Ok. So now I'm getting a bit worried. Am I going to end up camped out in the hallway for the rest of the night? After thinking for a while about sleeping on the hard floor for eight hours, I decide that I am going to find some way to escape.

I noticed earlier while trying all the doors that there is a ladder in the janitorial closet. Could this be the key to my freedom? I climb up, and notice that it is really dark. I let my eyes adjust, and then see that I am in a small attic room that is walled in with plaster board. I can't get over on top of the Active part of the building or even on top of the bathroom hallway because there are all these annoying walls. This doesn't help much.

So I go back down. My next trick is to stack up some paper towel boxes next to the door thinking that I'll go over the door. I push out the roof tile. Big surprise, another wall.

I'm starting to think that it all makes sense. After all, what is the point of having a security door if you can simply circumvent it?

So I begin to accept the fact that I'm stuck. But after thinking about things for another ten minutes I'm decide that I REALLY want to get out of here!

I go back up into the attic room and let my eyes adjust for a long time. I can see well enough to make my way over to the plaster wall separating me from the Active part of the building.

The wall seems pretty sturdy. But then I find some seams and decide the wall isn't as sturdy as it first appeared. I can probably make it though here...

I stop to think about it. Is it worth destroying this wall to get out of here? It's about 12:30 (I think), I'll be stuck in here for about eight hours. Ick. Or the building could catch fire. That wouldn't be much fun.

Then I remember that it isn't my fault that I am locked in. It is Facilities fault. Facilities is the one that will have to replace this wall...

Okay. My feelings of guilt about destroying the wall have vanished. That wall is coming down.

I can't really see because it is so dark, but I manage to find a break in the seam. So I start pulling on it. Then I pull harder. Then a lot harder. Finally a piece of wall breaks off. Yay!

Now my job is easy. I remove the wall along the seam and put it to the side. Then I take out the ceiling tile in front of me. Oh joy! It's the engineering conference room!

I notice that it is a long way down. As if that is going to stop me now. So I jump down. OUCH! This floor is just as hard as the floor in the bathroom hallway.

I'm FREE!!! YAY!!!!

Maybe I'd better write some email explaining the damage to the wall by the engineering conference room before I go home...

- Doofus

This e-mail is followed by:

From: Director of HR
Sent: Tue, 25 Mar 1997 10:07:09 -0800
Subject: RE: Bathroom horror

Doofus,

First let me say, this is a very unfortunate situation for you to have gone through, but your humor is impeccable.

Now, before we all get too excited about the bathroom door not functioning correctly, let me ask Doofus this question; were you holding your access card to the reader that was installed yesterday (which is not hooked up yet) or the top reader that we have been using since we moved in ? The top reader is the correct reader to use until the new reader is working, which I will communicate.

Perhaps facilities should hold a training session for all doors!

Director of HR

And then:

From: Doofus
Sent: Tue, 25 Mar 1997 11:08:42 -0800
Subject: RE: Bathroom horror

: Now, before we all get too excited about the bathroom door not
: functioning correctly, let me ask Doofus this question; were you holding
: your access card to the reader that was installed yesterday (which is
: not hooked up yet) or the top reader that we have been using since we
: moved in ? The top reader is the correct reader to use until the new
: reader is working, which I will communicate.

Oops. So I am an idiot after all. Oh well, I'd better go fix that wall now.

- Doofus

Which of course opened the floodgates:

From: Doofus
Sent: Tue, 25 Mar 1997 11:23:24 -0800
Subject: RE: Bathroom horror

: I am just glad to see that the awesome engineers that are writing this cool
: product also have well honed survival skills.

If only the "awesome" engineer could figure out how to open a door.

Just think of this incident as a security test. We need stronger walls up there in the attic.

I can't wait to be berated at Friday lunch. Maybe I'll get an award at the next Christmas party.

- Doofus

From: Steve
Sent: Tue, 25 Mar 1997 11:35:10 -0800
Subject: RE: Bathroom horror

: : I am just glad to see that the awesome engineers that are writing this cool
: : product also have well honed survival skills.
:
: If only the "awesome" engineer could figure out how to open a door.

Do you need someone to go with you next time? The bathroom can be a scary, disorienting place. Maybe we could post your mom outside the door to hold your hand.

We can't afford to have our "awesome" engineers locked in the bathroom when they could be writing code. Maybe we should install secure terminals in the stalls in case this should happen again. Oh wait, you'd have to use a security card to access the terminal ...

Steve

BTW, if you think the above story exposes some major security risk in our building, it doesn't. You can't just break into Active Software by breaking through a wall, "Doofus" did it from the bathroom. Well, you can do it that way, but that means breaking down a REAL wall.


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Wednesday, 04-May-2011 23:36:10 PDT