punkwalrus (punkwalrus) wrote,

AOL Memories: Our father, who art on Line 3...

One of my last jobs at AOL were "installs." These are where developers (who lived in California, mostly) would have a 2-hour windows to install new code for AOL applications (or post bugfixes) from 4am to 6am on weekdays, and 3am to 8am on weekends. Eastern. So I'd have guys from CA barely awake because it was 1am their time, many who didn't bother to go to sleep, and us East coast folks who had to get up at 3:30am in our jammies.

AOL bought me a very nice wireless Plantronics headset for my home for such calls. The skinny kind stock brokers and Hollywood agents wear. The tip glows an ominous pulsing red, and the sound quality is superb. I could clip it to my pants waistband and wander around my house during the calls. I still have it, as a matter of fact.

My only job was to push their new code to hundreds of servers, allow them limited access to tools, test metrics, and back out of the install because more than half the time, it was a dismal failure. Failures ran from "nothing happened," which was a majority of the case, to "brought AOL service down," which luckily never happened to me personally. The worst that happened to me was when a new build disabled parental tools (as in, block kid's access to certain sites) for a few weeks, and nobody noticed.

A majority of the call was people logging in, a call for "is everyone here?", followed by a point where we decided to go ahead with the push, I did my thing, then a long period of silence, then tests, then debates of the results of the tests, then long pauses, then decisions on whether to back out. There was 2-3 hours of call with only about 20-40 minutes of actual activity for everyone, and for myself, about 5 minutes of actual work.

After a while, the repetition of various developers and I got to know one another. We started to make jokes to pass the time. One of the developers used to play his TV on in the background, which at 2am, was full of informercials. One of them was Time Life selling some CD set of Christian songs, and one of the songs they played over and over was Awesome God, which would only play the title "Our Gaaaaaaad, is an Awesome God..."

We started to make our own lyrics.

At some point, someone drew in a Dana Carvey reference, and it became:

Our God is an awesome God
He's neaaaaat.... and has big feet

It became this combination of lyrics that made no sense to anyone outside our little call group.

When shows up with cheese
He ain't just givin' us the chips

There is thunder in His sneezes
And and wipes it on His fist

Well, the Lord hear me choking
And gave me a Heimlich maneuver
It wasn't for no reason that I coughed up blood
He healed my blender, my fridge and my Hoover
Wow our God is an awesome God

Our God(our God) is an awesome God
He's neat... and has big feet
He's not impacted by his wisdom teeth
our God is an awesome God

Sometimes the calls had to stop, and we had to continue a "postmortem" call later in the day when more East Coast folks (notably marketing) were awake. Sadly, one day, on one such call, we were all really bored because we were waiting for someone to show up. Recalling some of our past silliness, I sang this aloud when my boss (uber-religious) was behind me (I didn't know), which caused him to smack me across the back of my head and correct the lyrics. That shut everyone up on the conference call. Then he demanded to know who I was talking to. I gave him a list. He didn't believe me, and walked away.

"Wow..." said one of the developers after a long pause. "I heard Virginia was still in the south, but I had no idea people really got into that shit at AOL."

No, just my boss. I never told them who it was (I think I told them it was a mail guy), and I think to this day my boss thinks I called random friends and made fun of god on the phone.
Tags: aol, conference call, religion, work
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