05 September, 2006

I'm still here

I have a workmate. Let's call him Ted E., because he talks just like Ted E. Bare

"This is quite complex. Earlier on you were looking at something that I've now decided looked like this, so I'll give this to you to work out."

I look at it. Get a headache. Make sense of it. I take it back to Ted E. and try to explain to him why it's complex and how it can be handled. Ted E. looks pained.

"Yes ... yes... All I was trying to show you was that it was complicated. So I've been doing it this way."

"This way", unfortunately, is the wrong way and involves labelling something as something else which it clearly isn't, and then trying to treat it as such. Not surprisingly this isn't working terribly well, hence the complexity of the problem he's raised.

"Well," I try to begin, "perhaps what we need to do is start by calling this what it is, and then building on that."

Ted E. looks confused. "But I've been doing it this way." (For some reason I begin getting flashbacks to Spinal Tap and their speakers that go up to 11.)

"That's what I'm saying. Maybe we need to look at doing it a different way that's a better reflection of what it actually is."

"That's why I was trying to show you how complicated it is, and why this is what I've been doing with it."

Let's try again. "It is complicated, which is why I think we need to consider doing it differently and treating it as something that's distinct from what it's been treated as so far."

Pause. Ted E. frowns slightly. "But this is what I've been doing with it."

He catches my look of pained frustration and misinterprets it completely. "It is very complicated, like I showed you. How about you go away for a while and think about the best way to tackle it?"

It's like wrestling with a giant sponge - as soon as I get tired of applying any pressure, he springs back into his original shape.

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