My departure for a hush-hush assignment at PCHQ, the famous secret government agency in Cheltenham, has been unexpectedly postponed. As it happens we didn't lose any fees (the MoD is trying very hard to be fluffy and caring these days), but Mr McTone would even have faced losing money to keep me here. Slaughter McTone Regis has had an encounter with Melissa.
I'm sure everyone is familiar by now with this insidious computer virus that spreads by automatically mailing itself to people from your contact list. Mr McTone was very insistent that I undo the damage Melissa caused, not because of his faith in my technical ability, but because I introduced Melissa to SMcTR in the first place.
I received the poisoned mail from a trusted source - I won't name it, but it's a large multinational software company which ought to know better.
Frankly, I don't see why Mr McTone blames me. After all, how could anyone resist opening an attachment that says: "Here is the document you asked for ... don't show anyone else" - I mean, being nosy is second nature to a consultant.
I was hardly to know that the moment I opened the document, I spread the menace to 50 people from my address book. Admittedly, Mr McTone wasn't so much angry about this, as that when I discovered the document contained a list of pornographic Web sites with access codes, I then mailed it to my entire contact list, about 600 in all. I thought I was doing them a favour, client relations and all that. It's very important to keep our clients happy.
I wanted to mail them again to tell them not to open the document, but my mail wouldn't go. Infuriated, I rang our IT department. The chap on network support was positively unpleasant. "You can't send your mail right now," he said, with a snarl in his voice. "Some (expletive deleted) has spread this (expletive deleted) Melissa virus all over my network, and I've spent all (expletive deleted) night tracking it down, so if you don't mind awfully, the (expletive deleted) mail gateway stays down until the firewall is Melissa-proof." He went on to say what he'd do to the expletive deleted person who started all this if he found out who he was, so I hung up.
As a result I'm not allowed to leave the building until I've spoken to all 600 contacts by phone. So much for new technology. Bring back the carrier pigeon, I say.
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