It’s over, we’re finished and I don’t love you any more

How do I say these words to her?

This question had been weighing heavily on his mind for weeks now.

He had finally given up on the relationship but did not know how to tell her.

In the beginning, he felt special.

The conversations, messages, and phone calls were all alluring, often personal and seductive in many different ways. She often shared tantalizing videos with him.

He felt that she could be the one.

He had been tempted to try another for his new relationship.

Some seemed interesting to him, but he felt they were just a little too tawdry, maybe a little bit fake. He steered clear of them.

There were others that were interested in him as well. He found some to be too glamorous, too full of life and zest for him. He thought they might only be interested in his money.

He soon discounted all of these and turned his attention back to her.

She always treated him well. She always met all of his expectations. She even offered him gifts regularly. She never seemed interested in money. She seemed to care for him because of who he was and how he treated her. She regularly told him that their relationship was built on trust and respect. This made him happy.

She was always pleasant when he saw her. Her smile lit up the room and her soft voice was always pleasant to his ears. The other guys were jealous of his relationship with her. “Wow man, you got lucky,” they would say.

Every time they talked, she was eager to hear from him. She wanted to listen to him share his dreams and his plans for the future. She was delighted, often giggling when he talked about “taking their relationship to another level.” He enjoyed making her feel special.

Early in the relationship, he was ecstatic. He was overjoyed that he had found the one for him.

However, relationships don’t always last. In the fifth year of their relationship, the happiness began to deteriorate.

She began treating him with less respect and compassion. She nearly stopped caring about his needs and desires altogether. When he asked her to help him with something, she acted as if he was being unreasonable and pushy.

Yet, her expectations of him never changed. She expected him to spend money on her, just as always. Regardless of how she treated him, she expected him to fulfill all of her needs.

Over time the divide between them grew deeper and wider.

When they talked, she acted as if she pretended there was no problem. However, he could feel the passion was no longer there.

“Our relationship is important to me, I’ll do anything to keep us together,” she would say. Sometimes with emotion, often as if from a script. This hurt him.

She said, “I care for you and want our relationship to grow.” He had heard these words from her so many times. Eventually, he no longer valued them.

Each time she failed to deliver on her promise to do better, they talked. He wanted her to do better in the relationship. It was as important to him, but he could tell it was not important to her.

“Please, trust me. I will do better. I need you,” she would say. These pleadings stung him deeply each time she uttered them.

The conversations slowly turned into only email messages. He no longer wanted to talk with her, yet he still did not know how to tell her it was over.

At times he felt that despite the trouble, he should stay with her. Their relationship had gone on for nearly five years now. This was a long time for him.

He asked some of his friends what to do. Some suggested that he keep trying. Some friends tried to introduce him to others.

Some days he worried about her, while other days he was so upset he just wanted to call her one last time and yell at her, “It’s over! You have ruined our relationship and I never want to hear from you ever again! Go away!” Yet, he was not an angry man and would never say these words to her.

Even while trying to solve the problems she would send him letters and gifts as if their relationship was still alive. This hurt him even more. She did not seem to see their relationship crumbling.

In time it became clear to him that she no longer cared for him at all. She was just desperate to keep a broken, one-sided, relationship alive. Likely her only concern was that he would find another.

Finally, after weeks of her constant failings, with no new commitment to being a better partner, he decided the time had come. He knew how to tell her.

He sat down on the porch of his beach house, the salty mist sticking to his face, the oncoming storm blowing sand across his bare feet. He opened his laptop computer and clicked on compose a new email.

Dear Danica (aka GoDaddy)

It has become quite clear to me that you do not care about my needs any longer. My site has been down far too often over the past few months. Therefore, I have created a new relationship with BlueHost.

I’m sure this new relationship will be much better for me.


I wrote this story as a creative writing contest for on 4/14/2013.

Dear GoDaddy – Your customer service is horrible

Dear GoDaddy

Please do not send me a canned response to my third message about my site(s) not being accessible.

Please do not include “advertisements” for additional products when if you read my message you can obviously see I am unhappy.

Please know that I am on my last nerve and actively looking for a new service provider.

24/7 Sales & Support: (480) 505-8877 – 24/7 Billing Support: (480) 505-8855

Our support staff has responded to your request, details of which are described below:

Discussion Notes
Support Staff Response
Dear Teddy,

Thank you for contacting Online Support.

I understand you have been unable to access the website when you visit & Upon review of the issue, it appears that I am able to successfully resolve the pages when I visit & You may need to clear your browser cache if you are still unable to access the website. Clearing your browser’s cache might help alleviate many problems including:

    • Failing log in attempts to any website
    • Out of date information displaying on a website
    • Slow Web browser performance

Before clearing your cache, log out of any websites you’re currently logged in to.

To Clear Your Cache in Google Chrome™

Open the Tools menu, and select Clear Browsing Data.

Select Empty the cache.

From the Clear data from this period list, select Everything.

Click Clear Browsing Data.

To Clear Your Cache in Internet Explorer® 8

Open the Tools menu, and select Internet Options.

Click on the General tab in the dialog box.

Under Browsing History, click Delete...

Select Temporary Internet Files and History, and Cookies and any other private data you want to delete.

Click Delete.

To Clear Your Cache in Internet Explorer 9 and 10

From the Tools menu, select Safety, and then select Delete Browsing History.

To Clear Your Cache in Mozilla Firefox®

Open the Tools menu, and select Clear Recent History.

In the Details list, select Cache, and any other private data you want to delete.

Click Clear Now.

To Clear Your Cache in Mozilla Firefox 15

From the Firefox menu, click Options.

Go to the Privacy tab.

Click Clear recent history.

Select a Time range to clear, and then click Clear Now.

To Clear Your Cache in Netscape®

Open the Edit menu, and select Preferences.

Expand the Advanced menu by clicking on the plus sign (+).

Select Cache, and click Clear Cache.

Click OK.

To Clear Your Cache using Firefox® on a Macintosh®

Open the Tools menu, and select Clear Recent History.

In the Details list, select Cache, and any other private data you want to delete.

Click Clear Now.

To Clear Your Cache Using Safari® on a Macintosh®

From the Safari menu, select Preferences.

Go to the Privacy tab.

Next to Cookies and other website data, click Details.
NOTE: You can also click Remove All Website Data to completely clear the browser’s cookies.

Select the websites for which you want to remove cookies, and then click Remove.

Click Done.

To Clear Your Cache Using Safari on iOS®

Open the Settings application.

Tap Safari.

Tap Clear Cache.

Please let us know if we can assist you in any other way.

Gilbert P.
Online Support

Customer Inquiry
FYI – here is the message I get when trying to access my sites ( or

Internal Server Error

The server encountered an internal error or misconfiguration and was unable to complete your request.

Please contact the server administrator and inform them of the time the error occurred, and anything you might have done that may have caused the error.

More information about this error may be available in the server error log.

Apache Server at Port 80

Customer Inquiry
Name : Teddy Burriss
Domain Name :
ShopperID : 31052231
Phone : ——-
Shopper Validated : Yes
Browser : Mozilla/5.0 (Macintosh; Intel Mac OS X 10_8_2) AppleWebKit/537.22 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/25.0.1364.160 Safari/537.22
Issue :
Repeatedly my site & the blogs that are on it are unaccessible. I called and talked to support a few weeks ago, however, the problem persists. please help me to make my site & the associated blogs on it accessible.


If you need further assistance with this matter, please contact customer service at (480) 505-8877 and reference [Incident ID: 18142818].

Please let us know how we are doing by completing the survey located here.

To thank you for your patience, we’d like you to enjoy 20%* off your order of $65 or more at Simply use source code gdbb687 when you order or mention the code when you call (480) 505-8877.

Go Daddy

P.S. As a Go Daddy customer you’re already a member of our affiliate program. Click here to start earning commission instantly.

I want my refrigerator

Back in February 1997 I bought my first house in North Carolina.

My wife and I visited the house a few times during the search and eventually agreed to buy it. We met with both Real Estate agents, (the Sellers Agent and our Buyers Agent) and put the plan together.

Everything went well except for two things.

1 – Radon test showed slightly higher levels so we had to get a Radon Mitigation Specialist to put in a Fan to suck the Radon out from under the basement Slab and blow it out over the roof. The cost was about $1000, but the homeowner was obligated to pay for this.

2 – During all visits to the house there had been a refrigerator in the kitchen. During the final walk through on the day of settlement, the refrigerator was gone. I asked the Sellers Agent what happened to my refrigerator. She did not know.

I told her, “No worries, we’ll settle upon the removal of the refrigerator at the settlement table.”

We finished the walk-thru and headed off to the settlement table. While driving there with my wife I said, “I want my refrigerator, no if ands or butts!”

I could go on and on about how the settlement table conversation went, but I’ll collapse it.

I wanted my refrigerator, they said it was thrown away, my Settlement Attorney made one phone call and got me $1000 as compensation for the refrigerator that should not have been removed. I was happy, my wife was happy, the Sellers Agent and home owner were not, but that was not my problem. Success – I got my refrigerator!!!

For most of us, this would be the end of the story, but it is far from over.

We finished the real estate settlement work and I immediately drove to a local appliance store to get my new refrigerator.

I decided to spend the entire $1000 on a really nice refrigerator. I went with the double door, extra-large one with the ice maker in the door.

We picked out the color that my wife wanted and arranged for it to be delivered.

Within two days the deliver guys showed up and brought the refrigerator to the front door.

Here is FAIL #1 – it would not fit in the front door.

The Delivery guys had to take the doors off and bring it into the house in three pieces.

They rolled it into the kitchen.

Here is FAIL # 2 – It would not fit in the space where the old one was.

With a little chuckle in their voice, the delivery guys asked me what I wanted to do. “Leave it in the middle of the kitchen, and go away,” I said, not so happily.

It took me almost a week to cut the countertop, move a top cabinet and adjust the spacer beside the dishwasher to get the refrigerator into place.

The whole time my wife kept laughing at me.

The previous home owner threw away my original refrigerator, I got my $1000 allowance for a new one and a week later I got it into the kitchen.

It’s all good, despite the chaos I put myself thru.

I do this often and used to it.




Nudie bar Perfume

Recently as I walked thru a department store, I passed by the perfume counter.

There spread out on the counter were dozens, if not hundreds of bottles. Thin bottles, tall bottles, wide bottles of perfume. All different colors and aromas. Likely, something for everyone.

This reminded me of a true story. This happened to me back in early 2000

A group of business men, myself included, were at a really nice restaurant in Portland Oregon. I think it was Salty’s in Portland Oregon on the Columbia River. Let me repeat, we were at a really nice restaurant.

If my memory serves me well, there were about 10 of us at the table. We were celebrating finalizing a merger and it had gone well. The group was happy and having a good time chatting about the past week’s work.

The owners of the companies involved were at the table as was the entire executive management team. There were a few of us at the table who had been a part of the due diligence process. I was a member of this group.

Out of the blue, as a waitress walked by, a guy at the table, (not one of the owners or executive management team), interrupted the conversation with this loud declaration,

“Wow, I know that smell,” he blurted this out loud enough for all of us to stop what we were doing and to turn towards him. I personally do not recall any aroma that stood out in the air at that moment.

“Yep, I can recognize that smell anywhere,” he continued. All of us waiting to find out what he was talking about.

“Uh huh, I guarantee you that’s nudie bar perfume. I’ve been in enough nudie bars to never forget that smell,” he said with no hesitation or forethought of what he was saying. You could see him cranning his neck left and right trying to find the girl who had just walked by.

You could have heard a pin drop in the room at that moment. Everyone at the table rolled their eyes and looked at each other in astonishment.

No one commented on his statements. We just went back to our previous discussions and ordered our meal.

I don’t recall that guy attending any other management team dinners beyond McDonalds.

The Moral of the story – If  you recognize nudie bar perfume in public settings, especially while in a fancy dan restaurant, keep it to yourself. No one wants to be noticed because she smells like a stripper and most business men don’t want to know that you are a major patron of strip joints.

Just saying.


Merchant Fail

What would you do if over the past few months this happened to you?

Issue # 1 – Merchant’s tire said, “You need windshield wipers, should we replace them for you?”

I said , “Yes, please install with the least expensive set you have.”

They install a set that cost nearly $50 and did not think it was important to let me know they only have one style of wipers in their stores. And, no they are not made of gold or platinum.

Issue # 2 – Merchant’s tire replaced nearly the entire breaking system on my daughter’s car. A rather expensive repair bill.

During the next few weeks the breaks keep locking up as she uses them. She called them repeatedly and finally agreed to look at the problem. We take the car back twice and they say “There is nothing wrong with the breaks or our work, You must be hitting the break pedal too hard”

Finally very frustrated, we take the car to another service shop and $400+ later the problem is corrected.  The break parts had not been installed properly according to the other service shop.

Issue # 3 – My daughter goes back to Merchant’s tire yet again because of a great deal on 4 New tires. They convince her to use another deal they had that included 4 tires, Road Side Assistance, Front end alignment and a free oil change.  They do all of the work but would not change the oil because the “dip stick broke off in the engine and they can’t get it out.”

I show up, raise the hood on the car, see the dipstick in the pickup tube, ask to borrow a long needle nose pliers and extract the dipstick.  They did not even try to get it out and they were not even worried about the dipstick being down inside the engine. I consider this just plain lazy.

Merchant Tire guy, “I’m glad we could get it out for you sir.”

Me, “You didn’t. I did.”


Point of interest # 1 – There is a new auto service center being built right down the street and I think it’s going to be ready soon.

So, what would you do?

I know that I am done with Merchants Tire.

I will never visit another for any reason.

And if I am ever asked, I feel it’s my consumer responsibility to forward this story and my full editorial comments (non PC, can’t be written)


Ignore Function in Facebook

The following question has been raised with regards to Facebook

Is there an Away Message function in Facebook?

No, there is no Away Message function in FaceBook.

There is however an often overlooked Ignore Feature.

This feature is both hard to find and very difficult to use.

When used properly, this feature can be very rewarding. Many users, who have properly used it have found it increases office productivity, improves relationships, expands knowledge from books and even creates a sense of calmness and reduced drama.

5% of Facebook users have successfully used the Ignore Feature of Facebook by simply turning their focus to something else. These users have found great rewards because of this feature.

Another 5% of Facebook users have found that in order to use this feature, all they need to do is to turn their back on the computer display or smartphone. Some of these users have had to leave the room where the equipment is located, but they have successfully used the Ignore Feature and benefitted in numerous ways.

Another 15% of Facebook users have determined that they must leave the facility and the electronic equipment within in order for the Ignore Feature to work properly. Some of these users have had to leave the town in which the facility is located for the Ignore Feature to work, but they have successfully used the feature. Unfortunately they have found that the Ignore Feature only works for a few minutes and therefore gotten little to no value from the feature.

The last 75% of Facebook users have attempted the previous usage options and found that both options completely failed for them. Even if this feature were to work, these users do not believe it would offer any value to them at all.

Even if they were to test the Ignore Feature of Facebook these users would have to shut down the Internet by disabling the wired & wireless networks, cell phone towers and/or telephone dial-tone into the states where they reside in order to properly use the Ignore Feature of Facebook. Since we all know the Internet can’t be shut down, these users have decided that the Ignore Feature of Facebook will never work or provide any value to anyone.

Because the Ignore Featureof Facebook is being used by less than 25% of the Facebook users, Facebook has decided to disable the feature and remove all mention of it from the user guides effectively immediately.

Buying a Used Car – Classic story

This past Monday was a dreary wet November 2010 day in Winston-Salem. I went to a local car dealership to assist my daughter (let’s call her Myrtle) with the last steps of purchasing a used car.

She had already met the Used Car salesman. For this story, let’s call him Steve.
Myrtle knew what car she wanted, how much she was going to pay for it and that she was going to trade her 2003 car in on this newer car. She even knew what to expect for the trade in value of her old car. Myrtle was very well prepared for this transaction.

She told me before we met at the dealership that the Steve made her uncomfortable. Apparently Steve represented all Used Car Salesman across the country very well with his stereotypical mannerism. I suggest that she get past this and purchase the car she had her eyes set on. She agreed.

Myrtle and I drove separate cars to the lot and got out of our respective cars simultaneously. As if on cue, walking across the parking lot toward us was Steve. I tried to hold back a half a step so that he could address my daughter first, but no. He side stepped her and reached over to me, arm extended saying, “Hello Sir, are you here to buy a car?”

I immediately responded with “No, I am not.” I pointed to Myrtle and said, “Please meet your customer. I think you have already met before. She needs your attention.”
He then addressed Myrtle and asked her if she was ready to buy that car. Myrtle acknowledged that she was ready, but wanted me to see it first. Steve led us to the car and then went to get the car keys.

During Steve’s absence Myrtle said, “Dad – that was ridiculous. He knew I was here to buy the car. Ignoring me as we walked up made me feel like he only wants to deal with a man, not a women. If I did not really want this car I would just leave now.”

I suggested that she not get upset with his sexist manner and just go for the deal. She agreed.
Steve returned a few moments later and we got in the car and drove it around the lot. It really is a nice car and exactly what Myrtle needed. As we drove around for a few minutes Steve continued doing well representing used car salesman around the world. He bantered with me and fired off one-liners and witty retorts to all of my statements. I did well egging him on as anyone would expect from me. He seemed pleased with himself to be able to keep up with my well-honed sense of wit. (OK – that was a little self-serving and I know it – It is my blog).
As we headed back to the front of the dealership I brought Steve back to the task at hand.
“Steve, I know that your customer really wants this car. I suggest that when we get back you find out exactly how much you will sell this car to her for.”

I continued on with, “I know for a fact that your customer lives on a very low teacher’s salary and really needs to buy this car for about $500 less than the sticker says on the window. Will you see what you can do for her please?” Steve responded with he would ask his manager and let us know.

I then reminded Steve that Myrtle was going to trade in her other car and he needed to tell her exactly how much he would give her for that car, regardless of the price of the one she wanted to buy. Steve was all over that.

When we parked the car, Steve escorted us up to the “Room” You know, the little room with one desk, a chair for the salesman and 2 chairs squeezed up against the wall in front of the desk for the clients. The only thing on the desk was a big old monitor for the computer and a keyboard & mouse. There has to be some research that says this is he only way to “Seal the Deal”. All dealerships are setup the same way.

Steve offered us water or coffee, which we politely declined and then said he would be right back as he walked away to get paperwork.

Sure enough, as if on cue, he walked over to another younger guy (later I learned that this was Billy) and laid a piece of paper in front of him, as if to ask for permission to sell the car for less money. I watched as heads nodded, fingers pointed, they looked out the window as if at the car, then they looked out another window as if at Myrtle’s old car. Classic used car salesman activity. It was almost as if I were watching a movie. I tried hard not to laugh out loud. I believe I did let out a low giggle.

Within a few moments, Steve was back in the office, sitting down in front of us ready to present the deal.

Steve looked at me and said, “I can sell that car to you for $500 less than listed and I’ll give you $1000 for your car.”

I looked Steve right in the eye and said, “That’s great Steve, but I don’t want the car and I don’t own the other one. I suggest you talk to your customer, she’s right here.”

Myrtle appeared quite disturbed at this time. Steve repeated the offer to Myrtle.

Here is where the transaction started going downhill even faster.

Steve then giggled a little and made the following three statements, almost in rapid succession.

“I love selling cars to women, you can get them to do just about any..,” then he caught himself and spun the statement into “They will do just about anything they want to do, where a man will ask questions and check out the deal completely first.” He giggled again.

“I can’t stand selling cars to Asians. They may be smart, but, even if they think they can drive a car, they can’t. I get freaked out every time I see one heading towards me for a test drive. I will not get in a car with them.” Again, he giggled.

“Now gay men, I love selling cars to gays. They know what they want and will pay what you want them to pay for it, no questions asked. I love those gays.”

Neither Myrtle nor I responded to any of his statements at all until he finished the gay statement. I have already caught the redness of Myrtle’s neck and knew first hand that this meant she was very uncomfortable.

As soon as he finished his third statement and before he started to giggle again, I stood up and declared to him, “Steve, you have gone over the line now. You do not know me, and you do not know your customer and even if you did, racial and bigoted statements like those are totally inappropriate.”

I looked at Myrtle and said to her, “If you want to leave now and go somewhere else to buy your next car, I fully understand.” Myrtle’s reply was clear and decisive. “Dad, I want that car, I just do not want to buy it from him.” As she pointed at Steve, she said, “Please find me another salesman with better manners who can help me.” Myrtle was both upset and mad!

I looked at Steve and suggested he leave and have someone else come help us. Steve started offering apologies for his statements and even excuses.

He said, “I’ve used those lines a million times and never offended anyone before now. I don’t believe they offended you.”

I replied, “Steve it does not help your case at all to accuse the customer of being 1 in a million who can’t take an offensive joke. Please get us another salesman to work with now.”
Steve walked away and into an office where what appeared to be another salesman sat. With a few quick words between the two, Steve returned with salesman #2 who we will call Bob.

As he walked up to us, Steve said, “This is Bob; I have been working with him for a very long time and respect him. He will do a very good job for you.”

Maybe I should not have responded with, “Thanks Steve, but I am not sure if your opinion of Bob matters to me after hearing your opinions of women, Asians and gay men.” I don’t think Steve heard me. He did not reply.

Bob introduced himself and proceeded to apologize for us getting “off on the wrong foot” with Steve. I did well to keep my cool and then clearly informed Bob, that we did not get off on the wrong foot with Steve. “Steve screwed up by being a bigot and racist with the comments he used while working with us. That is much different than simply, Getting off on the wrong foot.” Bob apologized again for not understanding and then dropped the conversation.

We all sat back down to continue the process at hand. Bob picked up the transaction well. He reviewed the figures that Steve had written down and began to inform Myrtle of her finance and warranty options. He told her that the finance lady would go over them with her. Myrtle told him that she was paying cash and would not need finance help. No worries replied Bob, the finance lady would still be involved. (yeah, to try to sell the add-ons)

However, Myrtle was still very rustled about what had just happened. She responded to Bob as best she could, but it was quite clear she was still upset. During their discussion another gentleman walked in and interrupted the conversation.

He introduced himself to us, “Hello, I am Billy (for the sake of this story). I’m the sales manager here and I overheard the conversations you had with Steve and Bob. ”

Now, Billy is a young guy, however he apparently had read the Used Car Salesman manual many times. He proceeded to apologize for any offensive statements made by Steve, “Steve is a really good salesman, he knows about as much as any one man can know about used cars. And we are all good people here, we are not racist at all, heck, we even have a Greek working for us”, as he pointed to Bob with his olive skin and jet black, yet thinning hair.

Billy continued with, “I hope that you do not judge the value of this dealership on the comments made by one employee.”

I decided that Billy needed some good customer service coaching as well, “Billy, if you want your customer to not judge this dealership on the actions of one of your Senior and well trained salesman, then I suggest you give her a gratuitous apology that she will remember.”

Billy’s retort indicated that the book he read was somewhat lopsided, “What do you mean?”
“Billy, I mean if you want your customer to remember something very positive about her transaction here and to think good thoughts about the dealership, give her an additional discount on the car she is buying and make the end of this transaction more very re-Markable.”

Billy still did not catch on, “How am I going to be sure that even if I give her a bigger discount she is not going to still speak bad of our dealership when she leaves?”

Wow, I had my hands full with this one, “Billy, it’s rather easy. If you do not look her directly in the eye and apologize to her with some level of compassion, and give her an additional value offer, likely in the form of a bigger discount, I am quite certain your customer will only remember the remarks made by Steve and how it made her feel. If she leaves this building elated at the way it turned out, rather than still upset at Steve, she is less likely to speak ill of the dealership. Your actions at this point will alter the risk you have here. What will you do?”

He heard me! Billy turned and looked Myrtle directly in the eye and told her this, “Myrtle, I am very sorry for how this transaction has gone for you. I want you to think positive thoughts about all of the people who work here and I want you to know that we care about our customers. I am going to give you an additional $200 off the price of that car as an offer of apology. Will you be able to speak positively about our dealership once you leave with you new (used) car?”

Myrtle had begun to calm down at this point. “Yes, Billy, thank you very much.”

From that point forward, the transaction wrapped up very calmly and quickly. Yes, they tried to convince Myrtle that her car would need lots of additional warranties, spill proofing, bird drop protection and loaner car support, all of which Myrtle already knew the reply for. “No thank you” Myrtle drove off in her new (used) car, smiling and happy.

I am sure that over the next few days she told the story of the well trained yet impolite salesman. I am also sure she either did not mention the name of the dealership and she ends the story with, “But the dealership guys were really great, despite the 1 person there.”

To wrap this story up:

Does anyone have the book, “Used Car Salesman for Dummies”? I would like to see what it teaches.

And, is there any hope for used car salesman who should have retired 20 years ago?

This has been another story from Teddy Burriss. I hope you enjoyed it.

I built and destroyed a Server system all by myself.

Way back in the early 1990’s I went to work for a Computer VAR franchise in Gaithersburg Md. I quickly got involved in all kinds of computer systems. We sold accounting systems and AT&T Xenix systems. I also got involved in developing what were referred to as 4GL (Fourth Generation Language) applications.

One of our customers was the Administrative offices of Chevy Chase Village. This was a high end community outside of Washington DC.

They purchased from us an AT&T Xenix Server, about 15 big ugly green terminals, 3 or 4 giant tractor-feed printers and a program call Smartware that I used to write an application to track a very unique inventory – the trees in the community.

This community tracked every tree. Probably a couple thousand trees back then. They wanted a database system where they could enter each tree id (they had a serial # tag on each tree) and they wanted to print a report on tree damage and any tree work that needed to be done.

Please don’t ask me why, but believe it or not, in 2009 they still have a Tree Committee, chaired by a guy named Robert Elliott.

Back to my story.

I put together the AT&T hardware, installed the Operating System, installed the application software, built the termcap files for the terminals, setup the users, file permissions, and brought all of it out to the client’s office and set it all up.

Everybody loved what I put together, until – I went to do the next step. I had to setup the Tape Drive to automate the nightly backups.

Everything back then was done on a command line. And, most commands were about getting input from one device and sending it out to another.

I typed in a command thinking it was going to read the hard drive and write the data to the tape. But, instead the command I typed in actually started to write “null” or nothing to the hard drive.

Don’t misunderstand this – writing nothing meant when the program ends, there should be nothing there – sort of like DELETE!!!

When the program started I turned my head to talk to someone standing near me. In less than 1 minute people started calling me to say that their terminals were acting strange or showing lots of weird errors.

I looked at the terminal I was working on and instantly saw what I had done. Sweat appeared instantly on my head and I actually started to shake. I knew I had just trashed everything I had just spent weeks putting together.

I took the high road. I walked into the office of the Village Manager, pulled a gun out of my pocket and blew a hole in my head.

Actually, I walked into his office and he asked me why his terminal had errors all over it. I told him that I had just discovered a serious flaw with the operating system and unfortunately because I had not been able to make a backup, I would have to fix it manually. I explained to him that this could take another 3 or 4 days, because fixing it would mean reloading the operating system. I assured him that I would put the time in necessary to fix the problem.

I called AT&T technical support, quietly told them what had happened and begged them to stick with me while I reloaded everything.

Fortunately I found a very compassionate engineer and he walked me thru some short cuts for reloading everything.

I spent at least three or four 15+ hour days redoing everything that I had previously spent weeks doing.

When I got done, I stopped, drank a glass of water and wrote down on paper the backup command that I wanted to use previously. I looked at it for at least 5 minutes before I typed it in on the keyboard. I looked at it for another 4 or 5 minutes before I pressed the enter key.

Almost instantly I heard the whirl of the tape drive and then saw the program response saying that it was writing files to the tape.

Once the backup was complete I walked around the office and turned all of the printers and terminals on. The users started to log back in and again, everyone was happy.

I went to the Village Manager and told him that thanks to AT&T we were able to get it all back up and running. He thanked me for all of my dedication to fixing the problem. “Exactly, what went wrong?” he asked me.

“I’m not really sure.” I told him. “I think it was something to do with the backup commands. Since we reloaded it all, we can’t tell. But I’m sure that once I leave, you will not have this problem again.”

This is yet another story from Teddy Burriss – maybe, just maybe you will laugh with me.