back to article BOFH: Buttock And Departmental Defence ... As A Service

BOFH logo – telephone with devil's horns The PFY is feeling a little unappreciated. APPARENTLY I’m not supporting him in his role very well and he feels a bit like a scapegoat. Apparently. Not that he’s mentioned it but the Boss’s PA, Rita, has been giving me a rundown on office gossip that she picked up from the smoking …

  1. wyatt

    I like Rita, she sounds like she gets it..!

    1. TRT Silver badge

      I was expecting her to file some sort of sexual harassment charge...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        No way, if you get known for making sexual harassment charges people become careful what they say around you. Rita needs that dirt.

  2. hplasm
    Thumb Up


    Back to form! 2018 is looking up - at last!

    1. Martin Summers

      Re: Ahhh!

      What are you implying, that he was off form before? I think you need to apologise!

      1. hplasm

        Re: Ahhh!

        Hardly- just taking it easy in the pre-xmas lull, I suspect... got to lull the mooks...

  3. Locky

    Missed opportunity

    We know he can count the number of buttocks he thinks he has, but that doesn't mean that this the actual number he has.

    A second, public visible pants down counting session will be required. In front of his whole team

    1. Andrew Moore

      Re: Missed opportunity

      That's when they find he's off-shored one of his arse cheeks to India...

    2. Evil Auditor

      Re: Missed opportunity

      Totally agreed! I was waiting for this one.

      Somehow that reminds me of a distant past, or rather of a former life entirely. And encountering a person (or should that be plural?) who was so massive that they had their own zip code for their arse cheek. A separate code one for each.

    3. JR

      Re: Missed opportunity

      Have the counting session after giving him a special BOFH "chocolate" treat. I foresee a brownload and

      massive cleanup in beancounter central giving everyone several days off for...mental anguish. I'm sure the BOFH & PFY could manage a prescription for consuming large quantities of mental bleach (lager) at the local pub, paid for by the company.

      Where's the biohazard symbol?

  4. DrStrangeLug

    And nobody checked

    Everyone present _assumed_ he had two buttocks, but nobody checked.

    1. chivo243 Silver badge
      Paris Hilton

      Re: And nobody checked

      And nobody checked

      Everyone present _assumed_ he had two buttocks, but nobody checked.

      And nobody checked

      Everyone present _assumed_ he had two buttocks, butt nobody checked.


      1. Alistair

        Re: And nobody checked

        How about

        And nobody checked

        Everyone present _assumed_ he had two buttocks, butt nobody cheeked.

      2. Inventor of the Marmite Laser Silver badge

        Re: And nobody checked

        Will we ever get to the bottom of it? - Just arseking

    2. Dr Who

      Re: And nobody checked

      Only because they couldn't be arsed.

    3. TrumpSlurp the Troll

      Re: And nobody checked

      A true accountant would have asked "What result would you like to see?"

      Although that way could lead to mind bleach.

  5. Anonymous South African Coward Silver badge

    Now we can have a proper start to 2018. And we needed it, after this Spectre and Meltdown malarky.

    Rita sounds like a team player (on the BOFH's side, mind)... this need more episodes to confirm! :)

    1. theModge

      a team player (on the BOFH's side, mind)

      She knows what's good for her

      1. A. Coatsworth

        He knows what's good for him

        FTFY. Nobody, not even the BOFH wields so much power as a PA with decades in her position.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          PA power

          "FTFY. Nobody, not even the BOFH wields so much power as a PA with decades in her position."

          True, I even went on a course once on disaster recovery and emergency planning which explicitly referenced the need to provide superior service to the MD's PA because, when the faecal matter impacted the impeller, she would be your first line of PR.

    2. veti Silver badge

      I look forward to hearing more of Rita, but I wouldn't make ass-umptions about whose side she'll be on long term. She could easily be a side all by herself.

      As mentioned above, PA to the capo di capi is an extremely powerful position. If Simon is wise, he won't cross her. Though the bright side is, she's unlikely to cause him much trouble, just provided she always gets what she wants.

  6. Ben1892

    I forgot the rule when reading BOFH, don't do it in a quiet office. Many thanks, just what was needed on a long week back in the New Year.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      As long as there is no plastic sheeting on the floor, it is probably going to be OK.

      1. Marcelo Rodrigues

        "As long as there is no plastic sheeting on the floor, it is probably going to be OK."

        Mind the pavement, 10 stories bellow. If there is a plastic sheeting there....

  7. Michael H.F. Wilkinson

    And then some people wonder why I insist on quality keyboards

    waterproofing, in particular is important.

    although I also like the heft of the ancient IBM PC keyboards. Excellent for knocking sense into certain users, or percussive maintenance in general

    1. Aladdin Sane

      Re: And then some people wonder why I insist on quality keyboards

      Didn't Charles Xavier once smack Star-Lord with a keyboard?

      1. Tom 38

        Re: And then some people wonder why I insist on quality keyboards


        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: And then some people wonder why I insist on quality keyboards

          Firefox can’t find the server at

    2. Milo Tsukroff

      Re: And then some people wonder why I insist on quality keyboards

      The old IBM keyboards hurt like the dickens when they land on a foot. Happens to me all the time.

  8. chivo243 Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    PA Named Rita!

    We had one long ago, she retired, but if you needed to know anything about anybody anytime... Ask Rita!

    She is missed ;-}

    1. Alistair

      Re: PA Named Rita!


      Ours was not a Rita, but yes, very very much missed. Apparently I'm the new version these days....

  9. TRT Silver badge

    Well the smoking gang...

    shouldn't be smoking in a bus shelter really. Definitely not in London, as all TfL bus shelters are non-smoking under TfL by-law. The same holds true for most other dense population centres - maybe not so in the more rural councils, but if the structure is 50% or more enclosed then it's illegal under the UK law.

    1. Captain Scarlet Silver badge

      Re: Well the smoking gang...

      Ok so smoking under an umbrella is illegal as well?

      1. Tom 38

        Re: Well the smoking gang...

        "Enclosure" does not imply a roof, it implies an area surrounded by a barrier. The UK law on indoor smoking deems that a space is enclosed and "indoors" if more than 50% of the structure's walls are present. So if you have a square hut with a roof on it, 2 side walls would class it as outdoors, 3 walls would class it as indoors.

        An umbrella, having no walls, definitely counts as outdoors.

        1. TRT Silver badge

          Re: Well the smoking gang...

          They removed the walls from our smoking shelter when the new law came in. I thought that was a bit mean really. Then they removed the shelter altogether when they declared the entire site non-smoking.

          I am reminded of this gem:

        2. 's water music

          Re: Well the smoking gang...

          An umbrella, having no walls, definitely counts as outdoors

          That's either one hell of a loophole or a rule that requires more context

          1. TRT Silver badge

            Re: Well the smoking gang...

            A hand held umbrella is apparel rather than a structure. If it's supported by being sat on or stuck into the ground, however, then it is a structure. Even temporary structures are counted - you can search for a government FAQ which asks the question "If I hold a party by invitation to, say a wedding and put a marquee up in my garden, then do the regulations apply?" and the answer is something like "Yes, because it's a structure to which the public have been invited and even if the marquee has roll up walls the law still applies and the tent must display a sign to that effect. If you have employed someone to serve food, drink or other entertainment, even on a voluntary basis, then the area becomes classed as a workplace."

          2. Martin Budden

            Re: Well the smoking gang...

            "An umbrella, having no walls, definitely counts as outdoors"

            Definitely is a strong word. What about an umbrella in a two-walled hut?

            While we're at it, what about a one-walled hut inside a one-walled hut: does that add up to the two walls required to classify it as indoors??

            Can we even be indoors without doors???

        3. Uffish

          Re: Walls

          I seem to remember that Canterbury and York (and no doubt many other old towns) have quite extensive walls around them, does this mean that inside the walls is a no smoking area. Do say yes, I've got an out of date fire extinguisher I'd like to test.

          1. Chemical Bob
            Thumb Up

            Re: Walls

            "Do say yes, I've got an out of date fire extinguisher I'd like to test"


        4. Vulch

          Re: Well the smoking gang...

          2 side walls would class it as outdoors

          Actually two complete walls class it as *indoors*. The wording is "50% or more", not "more than 50%". Generally smoking shelters have a missing panel in one of their remaining sides to make sure they're under the 50% limit.

        5. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: Well the smoking gang...

          "2 side walls would class it as outdoors"

          Two side walls on a bus shelter? Luxury!

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            COMPLETE walls?

            Do they count as "complete" walls if they only go down to about a foot above ground? The bus shelters around here have 3 1/3 walls - they're rectangular with the long side facing away from the street having just a little stub on either side, along with a roof. But they don't extend all the way to the ground, I assume the gap is so the driver can see if there is someone in the shelter if they're not paying attention and don't notice the bus until they can hear it.

            1. Kirk Northrop

              Re: COMPLETE walls?

              No, the gap is to stop litter getting trapped in the shelter and making it look untidy. Same with the "new" phone booths. (New being about 1991)

    2. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Re: Well the smoking gang...

      Picky, picky, picky. If I didn't know better, I'd think you were going to run for political office or perhaps become a SJW.

  10. adam payne

    “NO!” the Boss says. “He… implied that David couldn’t count his buttocks and come up with the same number twice.”

    I've worked with plenty of people that I thought wouldn't be able to do that. Never put it to the test though.

    1. TRT Silver badge

      I used to think that of our marketing team, but it appeared that they could. What they did have difficulty with, however, was synergising the buttocks with the target demographic to realise an enhanced uptake of a broadened product table.

      I then realised that although they could come up with the same number repeatedly, that number was incorrect as they'd failed to count the buttocks positioned above their shoulders.

      1. Chemical Bob

        Our marketing department can't count its buttocks either. Probably has something to do with the six drink minimum...

  11. jjk

    Team player

    The PA would naturally be on the BOFH's side, as she probably also has to deal with unreasonable requests from people who should know better.

  12. NBCanuck

    Missed you, Simon.

    With Christmas passing and no office party and no New Year's Eve incidents I was worried that w'd lost you. So very good to have you back, and in such fine form!!

  13. Paul Woodhouse

    ahh... that was a good BOFH... thank you Simon...

  14. Terry 6 Silver badge

    The PA

    Get the PA on your side. If there was a rule number one, that was it.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The PA

      Are you retired?

  15. BOFHfollower


    Brilliant as usual can't wait for the next one. More BOFH please.

  16. Blofeld's Cat

    Hmm ...

    Maybe as a further check against miscounting, it would be sensible to mark each buttock as it is counted.

    Perhaps some sort of cattle-related device would work here ...

    1. Korev Silver badge

      Re: Hmm ...

      You could store information about it in the Prod database

  17. Will Godfrey Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    It's a dull grey winter day

    But for these few minutes it just brightened :)

  18. ukgnome

    I "might" of snotted up my keyboard - thanks

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      same here

      whatever you have "might" be contagious

    2. hplasm


      Might 'have'...

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Danger zone

    I was smelling danger for the PFY at the beginning of the article. The BOFH supported him instead, which might be more dangerous in the long run.

    1. Sideways

      Re: Danger zone

      I cannot be the only one who has suspicions of collusion between said BOFH and PFY.... almost as if the whole thing was "arranged" hmmm

  20. Marty McFly Silver badge

    More Rita!

    Executives come and go. But good Executive Assistants know where the bodies are buried.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: More Rita!

      Good Heavens, when our company was acquired by a US corporation and I visited corporate HQ for the first time, my new boss said almost exactly that word to word to me, in front of his PA. Who just smiled. Because she did, and would use the information for the benefit of her boss's department.

  21. TrumpSlurp the Troll

    Pictures or it didn't happen

    On second thoughts, don't bother.

  22. Slap

    Two Words

    Fucking brilliant.

    Just what I needed to chuckle my way into the weekend. Nice one.

  23. anothercynic Silver badge

    Oh Simon!

    What a way to start the year! This is hilarious! And Rita? What a gem!

  24. Tom Paine

    Truth to power

    A manager once got very upset that, in an email to him and him alone, I referred to a fuckwitted colleague as a fuckwit. (The context was "why did you slam the office door yesterday?" And the answer was "because I was debugging the script that was pushing the new AV sigs through several test servers and then pushing them out to a CDN to be deployed to hundreds of millions of endpoints under intense time pressure, as it had to work by 4pm, and the fuckwit found it very amusing to come up behind me during this time and flick his fingernail on my clamshell headphones very hard, and the third time he did it after I told him not to I had to go for a fag and a walk round the carpark").

    Ten days later, a detailed discussion with HR after the manager lodged a formal complaint was brought to a premature end when I observed "Well, to be fair, he IS a fuckwit."

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Truth to power

      i was threatened with a lawsuit when I called a person in a closed forum a fuckwit because of the way he was treating his ex wife and son. Fortunately I don't lie to publish any details on line

  25. Unicornpiss

    Before the count.. first need to be able to find it with both hands and a flashlight.

  26. clayusmcret

    His initial responses to what his PFY "might" have said were some of the best lines! Really set the stage for the story.

  27. Lost it

    Why would you need a flash light? Unless you are some kind of Yoga supreme who can bend over backwards and twist 180 at the waist at the same time I'd suggest a flashlight would be pointless. The challenge wasn't to see his arse cheeks.

    1. onefang

      Yeah, he'll need a mirror and a map to go with that flashlight. Might also need a Global Poositioning Suppository.

      (I typoed "Positioning", but decided to leave it as is.)

  28. YetAnotherLocksmith

    I don't think I have laughed so hard this year.

    And it is now the end of April!

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