Pilot fish gets a call from company’s computer center for immediate service on a 1403 printer, one of those IBM behemoths of the big iron days, the sound of which Columbia University’s computing history project characterized as “at full throttle … somewhere between a power saw and a jet airplane.” What could be so urgent? fish wonders as he heads over to the computer center.
The answer is obvious once he looks behind the printer in question. There he sees a female operator sitting on the floor. Fish notes at a glance that she has striking long red hair, and that it is wrapped in the printer stacking rollers. She’s stuck.
I was just collecting the printouts, she tells fish. And she begs him not to cut her hair, and he complies, though it takes a very long time to manage it. In the end, the loss of hair was minimal. And from that time, the redhead never went anywhere near the 1403 until it was at a complete stop — or she talked someone else into removing the stack of paper.