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This is a question Out of my depth

As a schoolkid, I signed up for a public speaking contest purely as a ruse to meet girls. It haunts me still: in front of 300 people, I started to speak, dried up, stood there for what felt like half an hour staring at the floor and then slowly walked back to my seat. Oh, and the girl I liked laughed.

Have you ever been utterly, completely, devastatingly out of your depth?

(, Thu 14 Oct 2004, 15:07)
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I did computing back when I was in high school. The school prided itself on it's computing facilities (hey, this was the 1980s). We'd write stuff in Turbo Pascal, and occassionally the school would flog our work on to other schools - programs to take student health data for education department surveys and the like.

It was the age of no-one failing, and in this spirit the sports carnival didn't have winners as such. Instead, everybody competing was allocated points based on their result. The school was broken up into about four teams, and the team with the most aggregate points won the day. The faster/higher/further you went, the more points you earned for your team.

Now, such a daft system obviously required computers to keep track of all the students and their times. Hello, senior computing class, can you write us a package? You bet we could.

We wrote two versions. One for marks/checking by the teacher. The second was what we compiled and ran on the day. Only a few small changes...

One of the perks of being on the coding team was we got to spend the day in a caravan on the side of the school oval, entering the times submitted by the various students. We also had control of the PA system, and had a cassette deck, so we also provided the musak. Cue lots of alternating ACDC and Rick Astley tracks.

We still had to compete in some events. As you crossed the finish line there would be a teacher chanting out times - you remembered the time as you crossed, and took it to the van for data processing.

Being nerds, we were pathetic at sports. Always had been. So, we'd taken the opportunity to, er, cheat the system. We'd altered the program to recognise our names, and "improve" our times by a couple of seconds, thus increasing the points for our teams.

Unfortunately, one of the features of the system was a series of reports on the top times recorded over the day. And for most of the day, us nerds sat at the top of the times for the 100m, and thus were destined to represent the school at the upcoming interschool carnival. And thanks to hourly reports, we bloody well knew it.

It was well into the afternoon before a few decent runners dropped us down the rankings. We were sweating bullets there for a while though.

Apologies for volume.
(, Thu 21 Oct 2004, 15:38, Reply)

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