Friday, March 19, 2010

True story: The Great Turbot War

This is another true story from my Zoomit days:

Place: Toronto, Zoomit headquarters
Date: 1995

Picture the phone ringing:

Z: Hello? Zoomit Corporation.

Telef√≥nica : (imagine a fairly thick Spanish accent) This is “Jorge” calling from Telef√≥nica in Spain. We have a problem with your software and need some help.

Z: (It happens that the famous and soon to be Dr. Cameron was at his desk and when he heard it was Spain calling he wanted to speak to “Jorge”). It appears that your software maintenance has lapsed and according to our policy we can’t provide any support.

Jorge: We can get you a purchase order right away. Where should I have it faxed?

Kim: Even if you could fax it we still can’t support you.

Jorge: I don’t understand. Can you explain? My English isn’t so good.

Kim: Don’t you know we are at war? Canada and Spain are at war! Your navy is here. Our navy is protecting our little turbot from your Spanish trawlers. We’re taking your ships prisoner. We’re at war.

Jorge: Ah, sorry. What? Turbot? My English isn’t so good.

Kim: Yes, yes, the baby turbots. You’re netting them in your nets. The holes in the nets are too small. You’re killing our baby turbots and we’re at war with you.

Of course, Kim was just poking fun at Jorge but, as you know, Kim spent a lot of time in Halifax, Nova Scotia so he was aware of the plight of the baby turbots and quite sympathetic. My mother’s family were all fishermen in Newfoundland so I had sympathy for the poor little turbots, too. Poor “Jorge” couldn’t see (or hear) us laughing our guts out and rolling around the floor of the office. It was truly hilarious. Kim finally told “Jorge” we were just kidding – but still at war – and we’d help them as long as they promised not to eat turbot that were too small.

Of course, Canada won The Great Turbot War. Spanish paella hasn’t been the same since 1995.

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