A week ago I posted the fourth Third Thursday Ogden Story. I thought I’d give you a bit of a background on them.
I have already mentioned that I am (now more than ten years!) a database guy in Corporate America. Back in the late 90’s I had a twice monthly job of loading a certain database (our Redbrick database) that was used by people in my department. They all wanted to know as soon as the data was updated, so when I had run the job, I sent out a note that said something like “The Redbrick Data has been loaded for January – You may query at will.”
One month, the day that I was sending out this note was the day after a departmental party in which we had given each other white elephant gifts. So when I sent out the note, I positioned the “Redbrick Data” message in the middle of a story which included many of the items that had been given. People wrote back that they appreciated it.
So after that I started to put stories around all of the Redbrick update messages. I created a fictional character named Ogden Fenfert, who was himself a database programmer, did odd things, and occasionally met famous people. Most of the story worked with Ogden as the main character.
I continued to get nice comments from people (my boss’s boss one told me that she laughed until she cried) so I continued to write them. Ogden went on “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire”, was recruited by Bill Gates, had his own radio program (“Optimizing with Ogden”) and spoke at an elementary school career day with a football player from the XFL.
Fortunately, (and unfortunately) we replaced this system with a more automated process which no longer needed a manual load, so I no longer write them. But it was fun while it lasted. For a while there I was getting paid (and complimented) to do creative writing.
As I look back at them, many of them don’t work in this setting because they are so filled with inside jokes. But some of them do, and I’m posting them here. As always, I appreciate feedback.