TallRoo says - b_o_leary: I'd love you to write something (funny) under Advice for a geek in a pool full of sharks. We need real advice, for a real geek in a pool full of real sharks. Metaphor is all very well, but I want advice....

And true, a little research shows that there is very little advice available for geeks in life-threatening situations involving carnivorous animals. Even advice for a geek in a pool of disgruntled cod is conspicuous by its absence.

So in order to redress this balance, I present my top five tips for Linus-botherers who find themselves in a pool of sharks:

  1. Overcome Your Shyness
    Look around the pool. There may be a lifeguard or shark-handler nearby, or even just someone who might be willing to help. But if there is, how do you overcome the most basic geek problem : starting conversations with strangers. If it's a guy, should you try to make some smalltalk about sports first? If it's a pretty girl, should you make it clear you're not cracking on to her. But what if she wants you to crack on to her? Then you'd be passing up the perfect opportunity.

    Woah there cowboy. Focus on the task at hand for a second. You may have had a bad time starting conversations with people in the past, but in general you'll find that people will be a lot more willing to speak to you if you're about to be devoured by sharks. Just take a deep breath (while above water), compose yourself, and calmly scream "FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, HELP!"

    And anyway, if she's cute, she might give you mouth-to-mouth afterwards ;)

  2. Remember : this is not Bill Gates' fault
    You may find this hard to believe, but it's true. The security faults in Outlook Express are completely unrelated to the existence of sharks. Their having 5 rows of razor-sharp teeth can in no way be blamed on the instability of Windows NT. And while there may be a certain ideological resemblance between the shark's insatiable desire for your flesh and Microsoft's anti-trust practices, no Supreme Court ruling is going to save you. Sorry about that.

    Great men often utter great last words. Don't let yours be "this would never have happened in Unix!!!"

  3. Think of what your RPG/MUD character would do in this situation. Don't do it.
    You're absolutely right, summoning the demon Asmoedeus while unleashing a salvo of fireball spells would shut those sharks up. Unfortunately, such things aren't actually possible in RL, otherwise you wouldn't be able to walk down the street without some Level 28 half-elf mage threatening to turn you into a newt unless you hand over your watch.

    Stick to practical solutions. Also, bear in mind that you can't cure all your wounds by eating rations. Sorry.

  4. Play to your strengths
    C'mon, you didn't finish sixth in the regional L5R qualifiers without being resourceful?

    Look around you. Are there any non-geeks? The sharks would much prefer them. Try and get the non-geek to bleed, then swim for safety while they're snacking.

    Sharks can smell blood from 50 miles away. You on the other hand, have a combination of pizza toppings and Jolt cola flowing through your veins. Stay absolutely still, and they probably won't even notice you.

    And if you're built like a jockey's whip, then you can probably swim faster than an eel on steroids. Think of it, not only do you survive, but you also get the last laugh on those who mocked your two-dimensional build!

  5. Use Your Leatherman!
    Your trusty Leatherman has a great shark Shark Pacifier. It's that spiral thing with the star on the end, in between the cheesegrater and the satellite relocation device, and right under the weird thing for getting stones out of horses hooves.

    If you don't have a Leatherman, you aren't a true geek, and should consult Advice for people with lives in a pool full of sharks.

  6. Regret your life
    All the time that you spent fixing routers and reading David Gemmill could have been spent painting landscapes and having sex with beautiful women. Remember this when you're reincarnated as a bacterium in the bowels of a stoat.

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