Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Being J.J. Putz

Like most ninth-inning relievers in baseball, Mariners closer J.J. Putz comes onto the field from the bullpen with theme music blaring out of every speaker (in his case, Thunderstruck by AC/DC). He reaches the mound, throws his warm-up pitches with the music still blasting and the crowd cheering. At this point, presumably, we should play some baseball. However, as was the case last night when J.J. completed his 27th save by retiring the Orioles in order, after EVERY SINGLE STRIKE recorded, including foul balls, they brought the music back on for, say, 10 seconds or so. During this time J.J. walked off the mound, wiped the sweat off his brow, made a quick cup of tea, checked the stock ticker on his cellphone, worked on his knitting, and so on, before walking back up to the mound and throwing another pitch. Now, maybe J.J. has talked to the P/A department at the stadium and this is exactly the way he wants things when he pitches. On the other hand, imagine if everyone went to work this way:

Monday, 10:00 a.m. T.G. walks up to the entrance of the Pacific Medical building. As he opens the door, the distinctive guitar riff of U2's The Fly begins playing through the public address system. In unison, every single Amazon employee rises from his or her desk, and begins cheering wildly. This continues while T.G. rides the elevator up to his office, sits down at his desk, reads his email, and checks his RSS feeds. Finally, as he turns to the code he's currently writing, the music and cheering subside.

T.G. stares at the code for a moment.
There is an eerie silence.

T.G. starts to type something. He pauses, then erases it.
A collective "ohhhhh..." of disappointment emanates from the building.
T.G. types a line of code.
The voice of Bono belting, "A man will rise, A man will fall, from the sheer face of love..." blasts out of the PA system. Everyone cheers wildly.
Another line of code is entered.
More insane cheering, The Edge wailing, "Love...will shine like a burning star."
Several more lines of code. Then the distinctive Control-X-S indicating Emacs file save. T.G. opens a terminal window and types, "make" at the prompt.
The screaming shakes the building. The music swells. Every computer screen in the building goes black and then begins flashing "Pump it Up" and "Louder" in big yellow block letters.
Lines of compiler messages scroll by. Then, suddenly they stop. The last line reads: "Compiler error."
The music and screaming abruptly stop. An audible gasp can be heard, followed by concerned murmuring.
T.G. returns to the file. He edits a few lines, saves again, returns to the terminal window and types "make" again.
The music and cheering slowly swell again. Nervous anticipation oozes from every corner.
More compiler messages. Finally, the process terminates with the message "Make completed successfully."
The building erupts in cheers and high-fives. K-C and The Sunshine Band's
That's The Way (I Like It) plays in its entirety. A voice comes over the P/A, summarizing the code that has just been written. Everyone rushes for the exits in order to beat the traffic.
T.G. goes for a cup of tea.


Tom said...

Tense silence pervades the building as Tom decides how to respond to TG's blog entry. A single bead of sweat rolls down Tom's face. His fingers slowly reach toward the keyboard- and- just as he hits the "Shift" "t"- it starts: The theme to "Mission: Impossible."

alicia said...

I had a similar dream when I was at amazon based on my experience running 10Ks and the like. As I walk in the door, there are a line of people cheering and high-fiving me until I get to the elevator. Then they meet me on the floor and yell 'you look great!' and 'you can do it!' and then I sit down and start working.

shouldn't they just provide this? it would be a real morale booster.