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Readers' Digest Humor Collection


I was accompanying my husband on a business trip. He carried his portable computer with him, and the guard at the airport gate asked him to open the case. It was locked, and the man waited patiently as my embarrassed spouse struggled to remember the combination. At last he succeeded. "Why are you so nervous?" I asked him. "The numbers are the date of our anniversary," my husband confessed.



Linda had returned to college after the youngest of her two children finished high school. Curious, I called to see how her transition from kitchen to classroom was going. "Remember that computer class I enrolled in?" she asked. "Well, I now know the difference between hardware, software and Tupperware!"

I was thrilled when I landed my first computer-programming position. My husband, Jim, although a stranger to the field, shared my enthusiasm and welcomed me at the door when I arrived home after my first day, inquiring, "What did you do at work today?" He listened intently while I explained in great detail my eight hours of COBOL, binary code and JCL errors. When I arrived home the following night, once again he was waiting at the front door. "So," he greeted me. "What did you have for lunch today?"



My brother's company sent him to Norway for several months to install a computer system. He and his colleagues worked 70 to 80 hours a week, leaving him little time to see the sights. Still, knowing how much he enjoys experiencing different cultures, I was interested in his observations about the customs of Norway. "Say something in Norwegian," I suggested. "Trykk en tast for+ a fortsette," he said. Translation? "Press any key to continue."


We were having problems with the new computer system at the municipal-government office. The police, whose headquarters was upstairs, were anxious to have their paychecks printed. My supervisor phoned the computer company, requesting help. "next week?" I heard her exclaim. "You don't understand -- there are people with guns here, and they aren't waiting until next week!" The company sent someone the next day.

Our chief financial officer was giving a tour of corporate headquarters to a special group of senior executives from whose bank we had recently received a loan. As our CFO came to the jewel of the tour - the computer center that had been financed with the bank's help - he proudly pointed to a small metal box on the wall next to the entrance. "This box," he boasted, "is part of our new security system. The only way to gain admittance to the computer room is by inserting a properly encoded card in the slot." He pressed a button next to the box, and a buzzer sounded. His face went pale when a voice from the other side of the door shouted, "Come on in. It's open!"


While my husband was shopping in an old-fashioned country hardware store, he noticed a well-dressed man trying to sell the clerk a computer. Appalled because a business that handled so much merchandise didn't have one, the salesman asked, "how do you know when to reorder stock?" "Well, when someone wants something, we go look," the clerk replied. "if we don't see it on our shelves, we say, `oh, my goodness, we're out!' then we reorder."



A fellow computer programmer for a consulting group had designed some software for one of our largest accounts. He requested my assistance in putting it into operation. At first, he handled most of the work, with me just doing corrections and inputting data. Eventually, though, he asked me to help with the last phase of the training. When I sat down with one woman and told her I would be showing her how to make changes to the files, she sighed with relief. "I'm so glad you're teaching me instead of him." Surprised, I replied that my colleague was far more experienced than I was. "Yes," she said, "but I feel much more comfortable with you. I get real nervous around smart people."

Shopping in a high-tech store, I spotted an item I wanted. After filling out an order form, I handed it to a clerk who tried in vain to enter it on the computer register. Then he disappeared into the back room. A few minutes later he emerged, shaking his head. "I'm sorry," he said. "There are four of them on the shelf back there, but I can't sell one to you because the computer says we don't have them."



At a computer store, I overheard a man complaining that his son didn't get outdoors enough because he was always playing electronic games on his PC. "The other day," the discouraged father remarked, "I asked him if he'd like to play some baseball. `Sure,' my boy replied. `I'll get the cartridge."

Source: Readers' Digest Humor Collection


locked: fasten with a lock or key (cerrada con llave)
spouse: uncomfortable, confused husband (confundido esposo, marido)
struggled: tried, made an effort
(se esforzaba en, para)
enrolled: registered as a participant (inscripto)
Tupperware: a commercial brand for kitchenware
(marca comercial de implementos de cocina)
thrilled: feeling excitement (totalmente excitada)
landed: reached (logré, alcancé)
position: job
to the field: in this area
(en este tema)
intently: with eager attention
(con suma atención)
customs: traditions (costumbres nacionales, tradiciones)
headquarters: central offices (oficinas centrales)
paychecks: salary cheques
(cheques salariales)
guns: revolvers (pistolas, revólveres)
loan: money lent (préstamo)
CFO: Chief Financial Officer
(principal ejecutivo de finanzas)

jewel: (in this context) most important place in the company (alcanzó el puesto más importante)
boasted: showed off in an ostentatious manner
to gain admittance: to access (de ingresar)
slot: small slit to insert coins or cards
buzzer: alarm
appalled: horrified
we're out: there isn't any left
(no hay mercadería en existencia)
inputting data: processing information into the computer (ingresando información)
though: however
(no obstante)
phase: stage, step
(fase, etapa)
sighed: breathed deeply
t people: quick and impertinent persons (personas listas)
high-tech: high technology (de última generación)
spotted: caught sight of, saw, noticed
item: (in this context) device
in vain: vainly, with no luck
(en vano, infructuosamente)
overheard: heard without the knowledge of the speakers (oí por casualidad)
didn't get outdoors: in the open air (no salía)
cartridge: games plastic container (cassette para juegos)