Not in the clamor of the crowded street, not in the shouts and plaudits of the throng, but in ourselves, are triumph and defeat.--Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

REDIRECT ALERT! (Scroll down past this mess if you're trying to read an archived post. Thanks. No, really, thanks.)

Due to my inability to control my temper and complacently accept continued silliness with not-quite-as-reliable-as-it-ought-to-be Blogger/Blogspot, your beloved Possumblog will now waddle across the Information Dirt Road and park its prehensile tail at http://possumblog.mu.nu.

This site will remain in place as a backup in case Munuvia gets hit by a bus or something, but I don't think they have as much trouble with this as some places do. ::cough::blogspot::cough:: So click here and adjust your links. I apologize for the inconvenience, but it's one of those things.

Friday, June 04, 2004

Whither Chet the E-Mail Boy?

Nate McCord just sent me an e-mail a bit ago, and posted the same thing on his website--it looked a bit like Morse code, so I went over to this handy site I use occasionally for such things, but because of the use of the underscores for periods and the non-sequitur "A"s, I couldn't get anything as an output. I begged and pleaded with Nate to quit his infernal torture of me, and as partial relief, he sent me the address of yet another translating program. (One that obviously requires underscores instead of periods.) Sadly, my machine doesn't have the latest verson of Flash, and I can't download it because of the way the computers are configured, so I once again had to ask for help. Apparently Nate took pity on me after his sport at my expense and gave me the message in text form:


Well, now, had Chet been here, he might could have caught on and been able to read the message by sight. As you all know, Chet the E-Mail Boy has a small desk in the basement under the stairs. Chet used to work for L&N as a telegrapher, and later in life operated a Linotype machine. In order to have something to do in his declining years, we took Chet on as a secretary to handle e-mail correspondence. In order to allow him to keep up on his former occupational skills, our system converts incoming messages to audible Morse code. Chet carefully writes down the information, then runs outside to the garage where he has a carefully maintained Mergenthaler Model 30, where he pounds out a bed of type, places it on his press, and makes a rough galley copy onto newsprint. He then comes upstairs and allows me to review the draft, make any corrections to style and grammar, then corrects the plate and prints out a final copy on 25 pound laid paper for my use. After reading the message, I dictate a reply, and Chet scurries off back downstairs and taps out a message on his keyset, which is converted to computerized form, and then sent to the original sender. The idea for this is derived from the ultra-efficient Chinese Postal Service plan where they hand-deliver hard copies of emails to postal customers. And, as I said, it gives Chet something to do.


Despite Nate's disparagement of my management style, Chet DOES get regular days off and holidays--I am not so cruel that I do not realize the value of allowing our employees recreational opportunities. Chet had Wednesday afternoon off for Bhutanese Coronation Day, and has all of today off so that he can wash the company van and replace the tie rod ends. Why, I even took him a snack of corn flakes not thirty minutes ago! As for why he has not been mentioned lately, it's the sad result of technological progress--with the comments section working, there is much less e-mail traffic than before, and Chet has less things to jot down.

But he is still around, and is in absolutely no danger of being replaced by a young blond intern. Unless she has her own set of tools and knows how to work on a 1979 Chevy Stepvan.

Chet says he is grateful that someone noticed his absence, and says hello to you all.

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