Once upon a time, when I was a six year old youngster, my mom had to take me along with her to work one afternoon. She worked in the data center at a big life insurance firm, back during the days of big iron and huge washing machine sized hard disk and tape reel machines.

This data center had two large rooms. The larger of the two rooms contained the data storage (man have hard disks come a long way), and the smaller of the two containing the mainframes. I thought the smaller room was so incredibly awesome, in a very six-year-old sort of way, the loud air conditioning units, the hollow flooring, the big machines with lots of flashing lights and the cool noises they made.

What interested me the most though was the big red button on the wall next to the door.

This particular day my mom was very busy so she let me alone to wander through the maze of storage, which was indeed really cool. Though, on this day, not the best of ideas. After wandering around for, say, 5 minutes, I got bored and wandered into the adjoining room, complete with the big, fat, shiny, pretty, tasty, candy-like red button!!

What goes through an unsupervised six-year-old's mind at a time like this?

oh, absolutely!

press the red button!!!!!!

So, totally unsupervised, I walked up to the red button and pressed it.

big fun, yes?


I can still recall the sound of every device in that room losing all electrical power. The fans slowing down, the sickening onset of silence ...

phhheeeewwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww ....

1.2 seconds later this guy from the other room burst in, with my mom right behind him.

"What happened?!?!?" he exclaimed.

"I press red button!!" I said, pointing gleefully at the red button on the wall. Man, this was so awesome! Even more guys were pouring in from down the hall by now.

"Oh JESUS !!!!" he yelled, and ran back to the other room. My mom was none too happy but calmly (and amazingly) explained that I was to never press any other button in that room again, never, ever, ever again, did I understand?

It took them a long time (at least an hour) to get those boxes back up.

She still hates hearing that story .. I wonder how much cash that company lost during that hour ..