Sometimes I Feel Like a Headless Chicken

mike-1Last week, I nearly died. I stopped work at my desk computer and looked around for my laptop to begin the long journey home that is my commute. My laptop was not on the chair where I habitually leave it as part of my daily routine. It was gone….OMG!!!… Six months of work not backed up! Books, papers, projects. I panicked and started running around but it was late at night and there was no one to ask. I was convinced I had been burgled. Lots of people from cleaners to workmen have master keys and I have often arrived at my office to find somebody fixing a light, etc. Three years ago, I lost my lab computers from a burglary that put my research program back a year. I thought it had happened again.

I ran around like a headless chicken trying to search every possible location. Then I called home. Have you checked the car? It was there. I had not even taken it out. 

It had been a hard week. Lots of meetings, a new graduate student, projects to discuss and a presentation to the one of my funding agencies. This is what happens when you try to do too much. When you overload the executive functions of your brain, things start to fall apart.

Not so for Mike, the famous headless chicken who lived without a brain for 2 years. There again, birds can get by with just a brain stem. Sometimes I wonder if that is not such a bad thing.

Now that I have recovered my precious laptop, I have spoken to my IT guy who will provide me with an external drive that automatically backs up everytime I come into the office. His name is Mike.

Have you got any good “headless chicken” moments?


Filed under General Thoughts

16 responses to “Sometimes I Feel Like a Headless Chicken

  1. You sound like my old boss! He came into work one day and gave me a big smiley greeting…and seemed strangely ‘light’. Then we realised he’d forgotten all of his work (laptop, briefcase) at home – back 😀 Poor guy.

    Though it was the same job where I had my last headless chicken moment. I’d mixed up two entirely different projects due to a frantic couple of months, and sent a rather ‘sensitive’ document relating to A-Day to completely the wrong actuary. Eeeek.

    I’d just like to say that I left this company due to relocating…I was not fired.

  2. wordpress decided to translate the words ‘he went’ into a smiley face??

  3. The night of my high school’s annual speech night. I’m taking the train with my older brother and a friend from my class. We get to the train station next to my school. I start to get out. They remain in their seats. I tell them to hurry up. They look at me strangely. I stand on the plaform and plead with them not to be silly. They look at me strangely. I’m beside myself. What are they doing? The buzzer sounds and the doors begin to shut. They remain in their seats. And look at me strangely. The doors shut. As they do, I realise – speech night is not held at the school but in the town hall down town.
    In the end, there was another train just five minutes later but that was plenty enough time for most of my year to have heard and to start clapping when I walked in.

  4. Bluemoon

    Worst headless chicken moment of my life…….in an unfamiliar country and city (USA) my small 6 week old baby with me with lots of bags and baggage….walking to plane exit with baby and bags in arms, moving towards gangway between plane and airport, kindly woman in front coos at baby and offers to hold baby whilst moving towards exit and I organise passports, she with babe in arms walks towards gangway on other side of plane doors, steward stands in front of me preventing me from walking through doorway, doors close with me on one side baby on the other!! Steward politely asks me to wait as gangway unstable, unknown woman has MY NEW BABY ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE DOOR!!!!! I scream at the steward open the BLOODY doors!!! I spin round, feel sick, heart pounding, I can’t catch my breath, I scream at the other stewards and stewardesses….OPEN THE BLOODY DOORS!!!!…they look at me with horror on their faces, finally the doors open. Sweating, bags flying, I push past all the passengers and career down the gangway to the other side to find the kindly passenger rocking, peaceful, sleeping baby in her arms. One of the worst moments of my life….

  5. brucehood

    Bluemoon, that story is pretty amazing…. there is nothing like the fury of a new mother separated from her cub. God help anyone who got in your way!

  6. womaninblack

    I have no headless chicken moments whatsoever to share, because I am awesomely organised, a bit like the robot bride you dream of (and when my arms fall off, baby, it’s all part of the ride).
    I would like to note, however, that I appear to come into contact with a great many people who operate by brain stem only. Ah, the peace and tranquility which must come from being painfully, terminally bloody stupid.

  7. Always remember to backup all your files like a good little monkey. Better yet.. Backup your backedup backup on both hard drives, DVDs, tape drive, and Sumerian tablets.

    We normally don’t appreciate how much we need all of our data until it’s too late.

  8. brucehood

    As always Dr. Fong… a fountain of wisdom and Eastern mystery.

  9. That Sumerian tablets part cracked me up – imagine forgetting *those* in the backseat of your car…

  10. poietes

    Too many headless chicken moments to remember, usually involving going on car trips and forgetting things like money, driver’s licenses, suitcases, a child (all of these have happened), showing up at the doctor’s office on the wrong day for an appointment, or getting to a tickets-only event with my mother only to discover that she has left her ticket at home (it’s quite obviously inherited). These aren’t even the better ones.

  11. Many! But nothing like Bluemoon. However, one that I very distinctively remember … Me and my colleague buy tickets to see Madam Toussads, in London. And my first trip too. We buy the one that allows us to see the planetarium too. As we are entering the planetarium, this lady standing at the gate asks for the ticket. Quite confident I plunge my hands into the pocket – no ticket. Start searching in the all the pockets. My friend starts checking his pockets in case he has kept it. Meanwhile, this lady munching on a chewing gum as if there is no tomorrow, looks at us as if we are a couple of cheats. She matches her chewing with the tapping of her feet. Finally I emerge with the tickets from one of my pockets (it was cold and we had layers of clothes).
    I must have actually looked like a headless chicken with my head burrowed into one of my pockets.

  12. My ‘best’ headless chicken moment was sooo good that many don’t believe it. I remember it was feb 14th and cold and wet. (It is a long story – sorry)

    I was driving to a work that morning and there were signs on the country road that I use indicating that it was closed about half a mile further down. Cursing because I was totally unfamiliar with any alternative routes and was running late (as usual), I followed the diversion sign. Now someone must have messed with them because having taken a mile or so’s detour I found myself back on the road that I usually use.

    Conscious that I am getting even later, I drive along my normal route before turning onto a field road that is signposted to a village. Having been ABSOLUTELY sure that I’d seen cars driving in and out of this road before I ignored the little sign that said ‘unsuitable for vehicles’, telling myself that someone in a posh house didn’t want all and sundry using their road as a diversion.

    After about half a mile of mud and puddles on a narrow mud track, I think that maybe I should turn back but the thought of trying to turn round and getting stuck in the mud off the track spurred me on, I must have got through the worst by now and the village can’t be far…

    Another mile driving along the edge of a field and i spot a field gate at the end – just through the next field and I’d be back in real roads. The track turned left after entering the field and there were large hedges all along it so how could I have seen the state of it? but as I turn into the field I realise my mistake… ruts of over a foot deep and no track to speak of… not suprising then that my car grounded and the wheels span on air as i came to a complete stand still.

    I got out and found a couple of likely looking planks but couldn’t hold them under the wheels and press the accelerator at the same time. Panic set in… the village was still further away than I’d thought and I’d driven at least 2 miles down the track.. who rescues poeple and cars from the middle of a field? the AA? the police??

    So I phoned my husband, who was still at home and said… “I’m stuck in a field can you get me a tractor to pull me out?”

    “How did you get into a field?” he asked

    ” I drove in – of course” (what a silly question, did he think that I’d been picked up by an alien spaceship and beemed into it?)

    “where can I get a tractor” he asked (initiative was obviousley lacking for both of us that morning)

    Fortunately we live next door to a farmer, so while Mr Nosey went in search of an appropriate rescue vehicle I settled down in my car with the radio on and enjoyed the absolutley stunning view across the valley – miles away from civilisation. That part was really quite relaxing, people pay good money for such experiences.

    Half an hour later the call comes through that C the farmers son was on his way (the theme to the thunder birds would be appropriate here i think).
    So I get out of my little haven and brave the wind and rain to walk (slip) back down the track to meet him in his landrover.

    As he entered the field where my car was he turned to me and said ” you did really well to get this far” – I beamed and thought to myself what a good driver I am!!!

    So C attaches a rope to the towing point at the front of my car and tells me that we’ll have to go on because there is no way that we would be able to get out the way we’d come in, pulls me and my car onto flatter land and unhooks the tow rope.

    Driving (slipping) two perpendicular sides of the field (on the planted area because it was flatter – well the farmer does have a responsibility to keep designated farm roads in a passable condition, so i felt no guilt at the needless destruction of his crop), C stops the landrover and comes to my window…

    “its a ford” he said

    “yes its a mondeo” I replied…

    As he drove through it the enormity of the situation must have occurred to him because once on the other side he gets out again and is shouting something to me. I can’t hear because my radio is too loud as I calmly edge forward into the ford.

    Now a ford is called a ford because it has a road through it and it is crossable, it would be more accurate to call this a large stream or even a small river and as the water lapped the bottom of my window, I’m praying to the great car god in the sky ” please don’t let it stall”.

    Well my prayers were answered (does that count as supernatural experience?) and after thanking C perfusely I decide that its really is not worth going to work now (I was meant to be on a training day), so I drive home loving my little car and thanking the people who, many years ago, did such a good job at building it amongst the noise and bustle of a busy factory.

    Well that little episode was 4 years ago this valentines day and my little mondeo is still running strong (touch wood!).

  13. Jaime

    I have a headless chicken moment. Thankfully it passed rather quickly. It came about during the reading of the first few sentences of your first paragraph!!!!

  14. brucehood

    That’s a “FAB Scott” story, Nosey Cow. I chuckled all through it!

    Ah Jaime…. I like to taunt my editors

  15. Thanks Bruce – I wish I could say that it was enhanced for effect… 😳

  16. Pingback: Blogging High Ate Us « Bruce M. Hood

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