Bulletin production jeopardized by cat

By John Toth / Editor and Publisher

I made my short commute to the office the other day and noticed that something was different. Something was missing on my desk.

What happend to my laptop, the one I use to work on the paper?

It was there last night when I turned everything off and commuted to the other side of the house. It now lay on the floor, next to the desk – with the latest Bulletin issue inside.

What happened to the external backup disk? It used to be right there on the shelf above the laptop.
It was lying next to the Bulletin machine. That’s my ace in the hole. How could something like this happen?

If the laptop hard drive is gone and the external is shot, I have a big problem on my hands. A third backup at an undisclosed location had been neglected for a few weeks. It would be of some help, but switching would be a huge pain.

It was panic time.

There was no break-in, or any sort of vandalism. No human had caused this crisis. It was the – cat.
This was worse than when my daughter, four years old at the time, stuck a pencil inside my computer’s floppy drive (a very long time ago) and knocked out my ability to transfer that week’s text onto the hard drive. We happened to be on deadline, and we happened to be very nervous after realizing that we were in big trouble.

This was different, though. My daughter was trying to help, fixing something that was working just fine. The crisis was resolved when I located another floppy drive and installed it. The paper was finished with some delay, but at least it was done.

Now my livelihood and its backup lay side by side, waiting for me to pick them back up and see if they still worked. Deadline was quite a way away, and we had some time to recover, provided the drives were still good.

Can you sense how I felt about the cat at the time? Well, I didn’t do it.

About a year ago, I sort of adopted a lost or abandoned cat that hung around the house, most likely because I fed him. Slowly, Tabby Cat became comfortable around us and started hanging out. He would take off for days at a time and come back all torn up, so I tried to keep him in the house as much as possible. Tabby apparently is not much of a fighter and has only one good eye to prove it.
I got him fixed, and he stays put now, for the most part.

One night he decided to spend the night in my office, on one of the shelves of my desk that also holds the laptop and backup disk. For whatever reason, the cat became entangled in some of the wires, got scared and took off – with the laptop and backup drive in tow.

That’s how the Bulletin machine wound up on the office floor.

The story has a happy ending because you are reading this in The Bulletin. The cat remains alive, by the way. He is a sweetie.

The laptop was history, but it had two internal drives, and the data drive inside still worked. The backup was also O.K., so we were still in business.

I fired up my reserve Bulletin machine and continued where I left off – after Tabby was fed.

I realized how close I came to complete disaster and ordered two more reserve machines, which are now part of the Bulletin fleet, waiting to spring into action should Tabby freak out again.

New rule: Tabby cannot spend the night in the office anymore.