Did you know that every story has an Inciting Incident?
(I once had a football major who revealed he'd never cracked open the text by writing on his final exam that the "exciting coincidence" in Hamlet was when Hamlet stabbed his stepmother Gertrude. How anyone can get so much wrong in one statement is a mystery to me. This is the same guy that also wrote that he didn't see why Shakespeare was All That because the guy wrote in gibberish except for stealing tired old cliches like, "to thine ownself be true" and "something is rotten in the state of Denmark", etc. He also thought Oedipus got its title from Freud's theory. I'm thinking he's now probably either a hobo or a CEO with Bank of America.)
But that's not important. Back to the thought at hand.
The Inciting Incident is the gentle "push" that starts the main character down the path of conflict. We follow the story to find out HOW our hero is going to work through that conflict. Will he win? Will he fail? Does he get the girl AND the delicious sea bass?
I find the Inciting Incident in my life is always something mild - some non-suspicious non-event. Often it starts out as a Good Thing.
Like... for instance... this Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 manual with an Easy Search CD Containing Nifty-Keeno Practice Files (!!!) that I bought. And I quote from the front cover: "Build exactly the skills you need. Learn at the pace you want." (Those would be their italics, not mine, by the way.)
Cool, huh? I need to learn how to work this stuff so I can go out and build this SharePoint mini-site, (and thereby keep myself gainfully employed) and here's this terrific book with an accompanying Nifty-Keeno CD to go with it! Of course I bought it. That was a Good Thing.
That was a shove, that's what that was. Forget about your gentle push down the path of madness and mayhem....
I've had this book for two months, and it's been almost untouched because right after I bought it, Boss #1 told me that we weren't going to do the SharePoint thing - that it was being set up by a squad of wild geeks they'd captured and tied up in the basement. And I was okay with that. (Far be it for me to deprive the poor things of a major source of entertainment, you know?) But my complacency ended when Boss #2 appeared on the horizon. Minds had been Changed. The geeks were going to be chained to something else. It was decided that I was to set up our little corner of the project's SharePoint site!
Because I had a great book with a Nifty-Keeno CD, after all! I had knowledge. I had POWER.
(You hearing the theme to Indiana Jones yet?)
Yeah, me neither.
And all that time, my little book was just lying there, gathering dust - a harmless inanimate object.
It was all a ruse. That book wasn't an innocent little stack of bound paper! That book was biding its time. Silently waiting... plotting my downfall with the patience of a professional stalker... Waiting for just the right moment to push me down the stairs.
And today, as I attempted to access all the nuggets of Nifty-Keeno knowledge on my Nifty-Keeno CD -
Just the Right Moment... arrived.
Sister-girls, I mean to tell you I went flying down those stairs faster than you can scream, "Aaaaaaaggggghhhhh!"
That push was so hard, I'm pretty sure there's a permanent footprint on my butt.
Come to find out, the Nifty-Keeno CD was not so Nifty-Keeno. As a matter of fact, I'd have to say that CD was Stinky-Zero. It loaded nicely. Asked me if I wanted to install the practice sessions. Why, yes, I would. Thank you for asking! And there they were - all lovely and tidy in their little file folders....
My mouse skipped over to the first one, gave it a dainty click, and was rudely slapped upside the head by a snotty little window informing us that this file couldn't be opened.
Why, you might ask?
(I know I did.)
Because it was an STP file. And STP files don't play well with others.
Then it asked me if I wanted to go online and find the right program to open it. Okay, that's the kiss of death in my experience, but, hey, I got no other options, so I go along with it. Only to discover that the Internet, despite possessing a GAZILLION files, programs and hacks, is completely unnerved by this STP file and can only wring its hands in despair.
And if that's not bad enough, the book is still just lying there, waiting to poke me in the eye.
Wait for it.
I consult the stupid thing, looking for answers. There aren't any, really - except for Microsoft loudly proclaiming they're not responsible if the thing doesn't work (despite the fact that this is a Microsoft Press publication).
Wait for it.
And the Getting Help section leads me on a wild goose chase. Now, I'm a reasonably intelligent, educated person. I know my way around indexes, and appendices, and you name it - and I swear to you, each one of the paths they provided ended up back at the same bloody starting point!
This is when I started making phone calls. And, to be fair, I did get a Microsoft specialist on the phone - shortly before the end of business (I had started calling about 10:30. Took me all day, but I showed them, by gum!) Unfortunately, my specialist had a very thick accent, and I think he was looking at a how-to manual throughout the entire process. I began to suspect that he might be in training when he tried to gain access to my SharePoint site. I said, "Er... how can you get in? You're not a ____ employee."
"Odright! Uvahdiugweru/mdb fjldafg[oiwraghiwr."
We fought with that thing for an hour - a process slowed, no doubt, by our inability to understand one another's native dialects. (I can only imagine what I sounded like to him - probably some horrible screeching, "Adsfjdj AAAAAA agknmm vmzljhsdi AAAAAA uaeg fjhdflfh llksas AAAAAAA jahdfjhafe AAAAAAAAAA ufghenlkvznv!"
Despite our verbal handicaps, we did manage to discover a few things.
Things I would have liked to have known. Things that, had I known them, I wouldn't have bought the book with it's Rotten-Lousy CD.
Guess what we discovered?
THE CD CAN'T BE USED UNLESS YOU HAVE EXECUTIVE ADMINISTRATION RIGHTS AT AN ACTUAL SHAREPOINT SITE.
(Wasn't that worth the wait?)
Now... does anyone else see a little bit of a problem here?
Did anyone else notice that the people who get the Executive Grand Poo-Bah Administrative Rights are the Geek Elite?
They don't NEED an instruction manual with a Nifty-Keeno Practice CD because they already have Super Powers!
And they're all chained up in the basement, anyway.
They already KNOW how to set up the site. As a matter of fact, they already set it up!!! It's the less capable geeks (such as myself) that DON'T get to set up the site and DON'T have Super Powers - we're the ones who need the book and the practice CD!!!
But we can't access the practice CD because we don't have Grand Poo-Bah rights so we can't load the stinking lessons onto the SharePoint site which means we can't get Super Powers and become Junior Poo-Bahs on the path to ultimate Poo-Bah glory!
And that just sucks.
And do you think that outside of that book (or anyplace within that book) there is ANYTHING informing you that you have to be a Grand Poo-Bah of your own SharePoint site to use said Nifty-Keeno CD?
(I really hope you didn't say "yes" because that would be extremely disappointing after such a concentrated display of ire.)
So I have put in a request with the Semi-Grand Poo-Bah to see about either loading my STP templates into the template file or giving me the rights to do it myself. The former MIGHT happen. The latter will NOT happen as I don't have the requisite Super Powers for such responsibility.
Which is frustrating. All I want to do is load some templates. It's not like I'm interested in trying to take down the free world with my laptop and a pull-tab, you know?
That would be an Inciting Incident for another day....