R. Fink | The writing on the wall

The Packet Rat'commentary

The Packet Rat

Michael Bechetti

WITH THE IMPENDING change of administration already dampening the air around the halls of power ' and political appointees spotted reading worn copies of 'What Color is Your Parachute?' ' the Rat has decided that maybe, just maybe, it's time to start thinking outside the command bunker.

After all, the wirebiter is close to hitting his Federal Employee Retirement System number. And with a wave of retirements expected during the next year, the Rat has started thinking that perhaps he should avoid the rush and make room for one of his worthy underlings.

'First, of course, I have to find worthy underlings,' he sighed.

He's thought several times of joining the CIO shuffle, waiting for senior feds to be called up to take over other jobs and quietly sliding in to fill their shoes.

However, his last gig as acting chief information officer exposed him to enough political appointees that he was all too happy to give up the sunlight for a chance to recover from his radiation burns.

And then there's the question of what, exactly, he would do with his time if he left his well-appointed cubicle in the network operations center ' with coffee available within five steps in any direction and the power to crush network abusers at the tips of his well-worn claws.

'I suppose I could always occupy myself with applying the latest Windows patches,' he snickered, contemplating the latest seven-pack shipped out by Redmond in early June. 'That would be at least part-time job security somewhere.'

Considering that, as recently reported, the world spends 200 billion hours a year watching TV ' much of it almost as entertaining as watching patches download and install ' the Rat figured there are plenty of free hands available for that semi-automated task.

'I could always turn my powers to evil,' he mused. 'With all that free time, I could bring the world to its knees with properly spelled e-mail scams.'

'I think you should blog,' his wife said to him. 'You spend all your time complaining about things.

Why not make a business out of it?' 'I think complaining has already been commoditized,' he replied with repressed ire. 'What would be my value-add?' 'You're a giant, cranky techno-rat, and you want to know what your valueadd is?' Mrs. Rat chuckled.

'I think people would pay to not have to listen to you complain in person.'

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