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Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Terminal Message

Terminal Message

Years ago when I worked for Safeway Finance we had a computer terminal in our office. The whole idea of personal computers was relatively new. The terminal was part of the Telex system which was basically a way of connecting hundreds of high quality typewriters electronically via dedicated phone lines.

Part of this system was that we could send terminal messages between offices in our company. All we had to know was that office’s branch number. When a message was sent to an office the receiving office would receive an *A* printed out on their journal paper following their next transmission.

One day, while alone in the office, I decided to see if it would be possible for an office to send a terminal message to itself. It was. It looked just like all other terminal messages. So, I sent the message “Help, I am trapped inside the computer. Please call technical services to get me out.” Since this one very naïve girl in our office was the one to normally work the terminal I figured that she would be the one to get the message. She was not.

Our cashier, who was a little older and supposedly less naïve, sat down at the terminal and began to post payements. She exclaimed really loudly, “Somebody is trapped in the computer.”  I began to roll around in my desk chair laughing. The manager did not understand what was so funny unitl the cashier showed the manager the message. Then she knew I had sent it.

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