Friday humor: Macavity the SME

Subject: Friday humor: Macavity the SME
From: "Alex Silbajoris" <alsilba -at- hotmail -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 18 May 2001 12:33:13

With apologies to T. S. Eliot... The original is in Old Possum's Practical Book of Cats.

The SME's a Mystery Man: he's called the Hidden Clue -
for he's the information source who can escape from you.
He's the bafflement of project teams, the tech writer's dispair:
For when the draft review is due - the SME's not there!

The SME, the SME, there's no one like the SME,
I think I have him cornered just to find that he's out-guessing me.
His powers of slick evasion would make a VP stare,
And when you reach the meeting room - the SME's not there!
You may seek him in the boiler room, or on the fire stair -
But I tell you once and once again, the SME's not there!

The SME's a sneaky one, he's very tall and thin;
You would know him if you saw him, for his eyes are sunken in.
His brow is deeply lined with thought, his head is highly domed;
His cube is dusty from neglect, while somewhere he has roamed.
He shuffles drafts from side to side, and all of them he'll keep,
And when you think he's wide awake, he's always half asleep.

The SME, the SME, there's no one like the SME,
He made me switch to decaf now, because this job is stressing me.
You may see him in the break room, or the mail room that you share -
But when you need an answer, then the SME's not there!

He's outwardly accessible. (He's on the bowling team.)
You might even find his coffee mug, still giving off fresh steam.
But when the printer's out of paper, or the copier is jammed,
Or abandoned lunches pile up and the break room fridge is crammed,
Or the smell of blackened coffee tar goes floating through the air -
Ay, there's the wonder of the thing! The SME's not there!

And when the Project Leader finds some specs are out of date,
Or review teams look for people willing to participate,
They may check his cube and find an "I'll be back" note on his chair -
But it's useless to just stand and wait, the SME's not there!
And when the version notes are due, the tech writer will say:
"I have to find that SME!" - but he's a mile away.
You'll be sure to find him staring at some code on a PC,
Or tying up a phone line trying to lease an SUV.

The SME, the SME, there's no one like the SME,
I'm starting to get worried that this quest might be obsessing me.
He always has a schedule clash, and one or two to spare:
At whatever time your meeting was, THE SME WASN'T THERE!
And of all the people who can leave your milestones strewn with wrecks
(like the one with all the passwords, or the one who writes the checks)
You can pick them off like sitting ducks, as easy as a dream -
But not the wiley SME, Houdini of the Team!

- Alex Silbajoris

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