Save the Soup

software as a story , early career

“Are you insane?” I half shouted at Biff, my college roommate. We had just finished our Operating Systems midterm and were lounging at “The Bomber,” our college pub. Biff suggested we both do our last internship at Microsoft.

This is part of the SaaS series. Any connection to reality will be strictly denied

I had no desire to work at Microsoft, the largest software company in the world back then. At that point in my career the largest company I’d worked for had 200 employees, and my idea of process was running down the hall asking everyone if they agreed. But, Biff sold me with his pitch “Look, MS will give us an apartment, a rental car, hell – they will even pay for our gym membership. We can cook awesome meals and get drunk whenever we want. Plus, Seattle has oceans, mountains, world class fencing and bikes everywhere – you’ll love it”. Biff knew how to convince me, so he paid for my IPA and we stumbled out of the pub with our next adventure glittering in our eyes. Seven short weeks later, we’d arrived in Seattle. Even the trip from the airport to our intern apartment was awesome. You could see the mountains as you drove across lakes, and bike riders were everywhere.

The first night in our apartment, Biff decided to make good on his promise of cooking and getting drunk. Biff began a complex preparation of soup and sent me off to the liquor store for a bottle of cheap Scotch. Let me explain – internships are where you turn theory into practice, not just for technology, but also for life. For example, up to this point, I’d had few experiences with hard liquor nor with drunken foolishness.

Back from the liquor store, Biff was working on the soup. “Good, good you’re back,” he said. “Pour me a shot.” And so it continued, Biff carefully adding ingredients and adjusting the soup, and intermittently saying, “Good, good” and pouring us both a shot. The fun continued for several more rounds of soup adjustments, when Biff started to turn a shade of green and disappeared. Conveniently, I’d been drinking along so I didn’t care about Biff while I finished making the Soup.

A few minutes later I heard a long moan, and went to the bathroom to investigate. Relieved to find Biff on the floor in front of the porcelain throne instead of on it, I was still trying to wrap my head around the situation when Biff groaned “I’m going to die” and curled up in agony.

“I’m going to die, call 911”. Biff moaned again.

Not wanting to report a dead intern to my new employer, I quickly dialed 911.

  • ME: “My roommate thinks he’s going to die, and he’s had a lot of scotch”
  • 911: “How much did he drink?”
  • ME: “Half a bottle of scotch.”
  • 911: “How about you sir – have you been drinking?”
  • ME: “I drank the other half.”
  • 911: “Sir, is your roommate responsive?”
  • ME: (always the engineer) “When I kick him, he groans.”
  • 911: “Sir, he’s what we call ‘drunk.’ Cover him with a blanket and let him sleep.”

Following the 911 dispatcher’s advice, I threw a blanket over Biff, staggered to my bed and crashed.

The next day at 11 a.m., Biff woke up me up in a frantic state. While I was trying to shake the hangover out of my mind Biff was utterly distraught and begged - ‘oh my god, I fell asleep, the soup – did you save the soup?”