S E P

This is an Excerpt from Douglas Adams Book ………..

“I think,” said Ford in a tone of voice which Arthur by now
recognized as one which presaged something utterly unintelligible,
“that there’s an SEP over there.”
He pointed.
Curiously enough, the direction he pointed in was not the one in which
he was looking. Arthur looked in the one direction, which was towards
the sight-screens, and in the other which was at the field of play.
He nodded,
he shrugged. He shrugged again.
“A what?” he said.
“An SEP.”
“An S …?”
“… EP.”
“And what’s that?”
“Somebody Else’s Problem.”
“Ah, good,” said Arthur and relaxed. He had no idea what all
that was about, but at least it seemed to be over. It wasn’t.
“Over there,” said Ford, again pointing at the sight-screens
and looking at the pitch.
“Where?” said Arthur.
“There!” said Ford.
“I see,” said Arthur, who didn’t.
“You do?” said Ford.
“What?” said Arthur.
“Can you see,” said Ford patiently, “the SEP?”
“I thought you said that was somebody else’s problem.”
“That’s right.”
Arthur nodded slowly, carefully and with an air of immense
stupidity.
“And I want to know,” said Ford, “if you can see it.”
“You do?”
“Yes.”
“What,” said Arthur, “does it look like?”
“Well, how should I know, you fool?” shouted Ford. “If you can
see it, you tell me.”
Arthur experienced that dull throbbing sensation just behind
the temples which was a hallmark of so many of his
conversations with Ford! His brain lurked like a frightened puppy
in its kennel. Ford took him by the arm.
“An SEP,” he said, “is something that we can’t see, or don’t see,
or our brain doesn’t let us see, because we think that it’s somebody
else’s problem. That’s what SEP means. Somebody Else’s Problem. T
he brain just edits it out, it’s like a blind spot. If you look at it directly
you won’t see it unless you know precisely what it is. Your only hope

is to catch it by surprise out of the corner of your eye.”
“Ah,” said Arthur, “then that’s why …”
“Yes,” said Ford, who knew what Arthur was going to say.
“… you’ve been jumping up and …”
“Yes.”
“… down, and blinking …”
“Yes.”
“… and …”
“I think you’ve got the message.”
“I can see it,” said Arthur, “it’s a spaceship.”
From Life, the Universe, and Everything by Douglas Adams

2 Responses to “S E P”

  1. Gangadhar Says:

    Deepak,as a developer of IC designs it’s very tempting to fall into the mindset that once it compiles and meets functional requirements, it’s somebody else’s problem. Then one day someone from my organization’s operations team will call me at midnight and declare that my app is broken and my help is needed to fix it. And unless the application is properly instrumented,it can be really, really hard to work out what’s going on (and whose fault it is – because as soon as i can prove it’s not to do with my app, i can go back to sleep!).So instrumentation is very important!!

  2. Deepak Menon Says:

    Dear Gangadhar That is what I used to experience when I was heading a computer centre of my bank and you can imagine what happened when my dear wife arrived at 1.30 PM and fired all of us and we ran for our lives – Ha Ha – till then I also had the mindset that my going late was her problem and treated it as SEP – Ha Ha. My son is also in IT and he will find out soon enough-and like you – he will learn the hard way because no one will accept that it is not his problem till he proves it is not Ha Ha Deepak

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