[ Dramatis Personae: Programmer, IT Person, Second Programmer. They are around a conference table, with notepads and such, deep in discussion of the new client. Client Relations is not present as the scene starts. ]
Programmer: They are not getting an Exemptions.
IT: They might want one anyway.
Second: I'm not going to tell you how to do your job, but if they're going to insist on an Exemptions they're going to keep at you until you get them some.
Programmer: Each of the last five clients wanted their own stupid little Exemptions and do you know how much trouble every one of them is?
IT: Uhm ... seven?
Second: See, you do know how to do it.
Programmer: Seven what?
Second: I thought you said five?
IT: Out of ten?
Second: Ten can't be right.
Programmer: We haven't had ten new clients in ... I don't know?
IT: I'm talking about how hard these specials are.
Second: So you know how you should set them up.
Programmer: I have put in so much nonsense for special cases it's all rickety, and that was the whole point of Version 5.
Second: There's your solution then.
IT: Version 6?
[ Programmer groans. ]
Second: Tell them they can have their special table, but it has to fit one of the specials that already exists.
Programmer: They can have their very own custom-built special case as long as it's one of the prepackaged ones?
IT: That's great!
Programmer: That's crazy.
Second: They'll get to feel like they got some special Exemption, it doesn't make any new work for you, and they'll never know it's not from scratch.
IT: Unless somebody goes from one client to another.
Second: Nah, when our clients hire somebody they don't migrate.
IT: They give up on finding work ever again.
Second: Nah, just life.
Programmer: It's lying!
Second: Just tell them technical limitations require special cases in one of these formats. And that's as good as true.
IT: What bothers me is what kind of installation they have and what we're going to have to set up.
Second: Yeah, [ IT says this with Second, but second does not notice ] I don't want to tell you how to do your job [ IT stops; Programmer slaps a notepad, without being noticed ] but I didn't see the detail sheet in last night's e-mail.
IT: Before we even figure out what Exemptions they want ---
Programmer: That they're not getting.
IT: We need a better picture --- ah!
[ Client Relations, with a bundle of papers, waddles in and drops them on the table while sitting ] Client: Sorry I'm late. You wouldn't believe the traffic ---
IT: Was it the fire?
Client: What fire?
Programmer: There was a fire?
IT: Maybe it cleared up.
Client: What are we talking about?
Second: Fires aren't interesting anyway. They shouldn't stop traffic for that.
IT: Or at least give out mushrooms.
Client: Yeah, we've got to open up an office somewhere not here. Where are we?
Client: Why were you talking about marshmallows?
Second: We wanted to find out if the new client wants an Exemptions.
Programmer: They're not getting them.
IT: And if we can talk them into reusing something we have already.
Client: What new client?
[ Screeching silence. ]
IT: The ... from last night?
Programmer: The one you mailed us?
Second: We put them into the client database this morning.
Client: We don't have any new clients.
IT: You sent me the data card on them last night.
Client: What are you ... I sent that as an example, something for our training. The new client data we need to have to start.
[ Programmer takes out a smart phone and starts looking up the e-mail on it. ]
IT: Well, good job. Why didn't you send some note about this being an example file only?
Client: That was the mail I sent with the file! It said ...
Programmer: ``This is an example file of the kind of data ... ''
Second: Well, who reads that?
IT: You shouldn't have made the data look so plausible.
Client: Plausible? Did you even look at the contact information?
[ Programmer shrugs. ]
Second: It looked fine.
Client: The contact address was ``2 West Frontage Road Highway 30''.
Programmer: Yeah, there it is, Ferdinand Waldo Demara, 2 West ...
Client: See! Is there anything about ``2 West Frontage Road Highway 30'' that looks remotely plausible as an address?
IT: I like the ``2'' part.
Client: Do you have any idea how many conventions that line alone contravenes?
Second: Isn't, like, ``100 Main Street'' the normal ---
Client: Do you know how many 100 Main Streets there are in this county alone? Fake data must be fake.
Programmer: Maybe John Doe as contact point? I mean, ``Ferdinand Waldo Demara''?
Client: What do you want, ``Fake Phoney False Fradulent Fakington the Fourth''?
Programmer: The Fifth.
IT: German. Frau Fakington.
Client: How could I be clearer this was imitation data?
IT: If they were, like, ``The Imaginary Company''?
Second: Aren't they our print shop?
Client: For all the client training stuff, yeah.
Programmer: Can I at least get a rule that we aren't giving out any more Exemptions for anybody?
Client: Hang on. An Exemptions would be a great training piece. We should have one for the in-house training.
Second: I can help you whip one up.
[ Programmer whimpers. ]
Trivia: When he was nineteen, the director of the Gymnasium which Georg Riemann attended gave him Adrien-Marie Legendre's text Théorie des nombres, (Theory of Numbers), 859 dense pages of abstract material. Riemann returned it to the director in six days, with the note that it was a good read. Several months later, tested on the book's contents, Riemann scored perfectly. Source: Euclid's Window: The Story Of Geometry From Parallel Lines To Hyperspace, Leonard Mlodinow.
Currently Reading: Wollheim's World's Best SF Series Two, Editor Donald A Wollheim.