Wednesday, March 1, 2006

John Henry's pencil

On the life and death of Wallace Peters, "the mythic three-column accountant at Chesapeake & Ohio Consultants who pitted himself against Microsoft's latest version of the popular spreadsheet program Excel":

Peters challenged the computer after an interoffice memo announced that Excel's powerful upgraded accounting software would render jobs in the accounts receivable division obsolete and result in sweeping layoffs. Although warned repeatedly by his colleagues in billing, Peters insisted that he could beat the software "to the bottom of a large balance sheet of bedrock-hard figures."

Accounting crewmen who worked alongside Peters said his legend as an accounting hero was formed by his willingness to answer to the challenge.

"He'd tell us, 'Now, 20 rows down, the accounting's hard as granite -- it's the hardest thing an office man can stand,'" said Huddie Ledbetter, one of Peters' former trainees, "'but you keep your pencil sharp, and you keep your pencil working. It's the life of a numbers-crunchin' man.'"
To which I'd add:

Lord, Lord. It's the life of a numbers-crunchin' man. It's the life of a numbers-crunchin' man, Lord, Lord. It's the life of a numbers-crunchin' man.

Note that in the post below, I favor writing -- not calculating spreadsheets -- by hand.

» Modern-Day John Henry Dies
Trying To Out-Spreadsheet Excel 11.0
(from The Onion)

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