Mistakes Were Made

….but I found it hilarious.

   One of the systems I worked on had a number of commands that could be entered, to control the way the software functioned or to display particular data. A request was made for some command to change what it did in some minor way and I coded the change, tested and implemented it.

   About two weeks later I happened to notice some message that had unexpected data at the end of the message. It wasn’t anything major, more cosmetic than functional and could have been ignored, but I was curious. Investigation led to the module I had recently changed, so I went back to my code and examined it instruction by instruction. I found that I had indeed made an error: in cases where the stock price was single-digit, extra data was appended.

   I went to my manager and said, “You know that command I changed a couple of weeks ago? I made a mistake in the code.”

   She sat back in her chair, eyes wide in shock and mouth agape. “No!’ I don’t believe it!”

   “Really, I goofed. Look at this.” And I showed her the errant code and went over it line by line.

   She was stunned, absolutely gobsmacked. She picked up the program listing, walked out to the ‘cubicle farm’ and announced to one and all, “Ray made a mistake!”

   She was rewarded with a chorus of “No! Impossible!. I don’t believe it!” from about 15 programmers.

   She had to show them the mistaken code and let them see for themselves before they would believe it. They were equally amazed.

   I made another mistake about 20 years later. Hey! Nobody’s perfect! 😀

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