Old Wives' Tales
Radio & TV
Toxin du jour
Joke: IBM field service memo details the procedure for replacing mouse balls.
Example: [Collected on the Internet, 2002]
Origins: The IBM "mouse balls" memo is one of the oldest bits of Internet jokelore. Examples of it show up in USENET archives as far back as 1989, and scarcely anyone who had an
Was this a real memo? "Real" in the sense that someone at IBM actually wrote it and distributed it to field service techs, perhaps, but it was always intended as an occupational in-joke; it wasn't a "serious" memo that some hapless supervisor inadvertently worded as a hilarious tour de force of double entendres.
The memo has remained remarkably unchanged through the years. As the piece has been passed from hand to hand through cyberspace, a few alterations have been made to the text (the "Please keep in mind that a customer without properly working balls is an unhappy customer" zinger wasn't in the original, and today's "Any customer missing his balls should contact the local personnel in charge of removing and replacing these necessary items" used to be "Any customer missing his balls should suspect local personnel of removing these necessary functional items"), but for the most part what turns up in inboxes now is fairly close to what was being circulated more than a decade ago.
Barbara "Big Blue's clues" Mikkelson
Last updated: 17 March 2007
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