Memory-Lane Monday: Self-inflicted

It’s the 1980s, and this pilot fish works in a group at a big financial services company that provides 24/7 support. That means taking turns doing a weeklong on-call rotation.

Fish has done his on-call duty, with pager, before, but this is his first time with a new and improved pager. Now you don’t call back a prearranged phone number; you call the number that is displayed in a small window on the pager.

Come 3 a.m. Saturday, and the pager goes off. Fish gets up, sets up the take-home terminal and acoustic modem on his dining room table, grabs a cup of caffeine, and calls back the number on the beeper.

But what fish gets is a computer tone. Must be a home number sharing a fax, he figures. He hangs up and tries to figure out what he’s supposed to do next.

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