Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Worse Than Pulling Teeth?

Today I got to go to the dentist.  It was a routine cleaning, nothing major.  Before we got started, the hygienist informed me that they needed updated x-rays.  The entire dental industry needs a make-over.  All of their tools and techniques need to be improved so as not to scare the shit out of people.  The whole idea of one or more people sticking sharp metal devices and mechanical equipment that emits high pitched, irritating noises into your mouth frightens most people. 
I don’t mind the high speed drills, I don’t mind the teeth polishing tool, even the high pressure water jet, Mr. Suction, and the stainless steel picks don’t bother me.  I hate when they have to take x-rays.  It’s not the fact that they are bouncing high energy radiation off my face, it is the medieval plastic and metal ring apparatus that they insert in my mouth.  And what makes it worse is the concertina wire edged piece of film that you are required to bite down on and hold for several seconds.  With all of our research in medical and material sciences, how can we not have come up with a better solution to this process?  Could they soften the edges a bit?  Could they make it less like clamping down on a razor blade with the roof of your mouth? 
After all of the teeth clenching, polishing and picking, I get to see the actual dentist for roughly 15 seconds.  He appears to count all of my teeth and then murmur, “you’re all set.”  Seriously?  Couldn’t I have just brushed really good and sent you a few digital pictures if that was all you were going to do?  I could have done that from the privacy of my basement stronghold and not have left the house today.  Damn you, preventative dentistry, you got me again.
But it’s Tuesday, it should be good, have I already broken my streak?  In the past two days I have spent over 13 hours on the phone trying to solve production issues at work, seven yesterday and six today.  I was up until 2 AM this morning.  My ears itch from wearing a telephone headset for this long.  I am now two days behind on an already overwhelming project load.  Why does stuff break on my on-call week?
Production support in a large corporation is very much like a circus, any issue effecting a significant number of users involves getting about 20 different people on a conference call because no one person has the access, the authority or knowledge to do what is necessary to fix the issue.  You get a help desk technician, production support contacts, users, server administrators, network administrators, firewall administrators, proxy team, application owners, vendor contacts, and various other dingleberries that just cling on because they think they can be useful. 
No one gets on the call at the same time, so every time someone comes online, you have to rehash the entire story and everything that has been done to that point.  Not only do you get to go through every fact, but you have to justify the reason for the call.  It’s like they don’t believe you that there is indeed an issue.  The best part is after having spent three hours going over every possible cause and discussing every possible resolution, the issue resolves itself mysteriously without anything changing at all, or at least nothing that anyone will admit to.  Sometimes you hear that “Ooohhh… um… nothing” on the conference call and then 20 minutes later the issue disappears.  I am still hopeful that someone will develop a way to deliver a throat punch through a VOIP line.
Everything can’t be all bad today, it’s Tuesday, Lost is on tonight.  Huh?  You’re shitting me, a rerun?  I quit.

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