Tales from The Trenches Archive

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The Shit-talking Tyrannosaurus

My second job ever just happened to be as a tester at Activision in 1999. You don’t need to edit that, because I have absolutely no plans to ever work at Activision again. The industry back then was *different*. Different in a good way, where people could have fun, express themselves openly, and have direct lines of communication to developers.

QA testers at Activision’s Santa Monica office were all corralled into the basement level of the building, and we called it the Vault. While there, I had foolish aspirations of being an artist. Foolish because what I didn’t realize at the time was that I sucked. I was awful. I would spend my lunch-hours drawing, and caught some flak for it by my co-workers, as it was all I’d ever do.

I’m mentioning this because one day my Lead pulled me aside as I walked past, and we had the following conversation:

Him: “Why the hell did you do this?”
Me:  “What? What are you talking about?”

He stood aside, and behind him on a large whiteboard was a crude drawing of a Tyrannosaurus Rex wearing sunglasses. There was a word bubble next to the dinosaur, and within were the words “I’m a T-Rex! I eat shit! Shit shit shitty shit shitty shit shit!”

It’s been twelve years, but I remember this precisely, word for word. I was 18, and while stupid, this was hilarious.

I laughed. He didn’t.

This was not my work. I couldn’t draw to save my life, but THIS? Whoever drew this not only lacked ability but all common sense. There were people in suits walking around the Vault every now and then, showing off the area to other people in suits, and the chances this shit-talking dinosaur would be noticed in such a high-traffic area were quite high. My Lead was skeptical as to my innocence.

Him: “Dude, I realize you love to draw and all that, but this isn’t cool. You can’t just go around writing “shit” on the walls.”
Me: “I didn’t do this! Come on, Really?”
Him: “You’re always drawing, dude.”
Me: “There are almost 100 people working down here, man. Surely someone else is capable of drawing a crappy dinosaur with shades.”

I was laid off a few days later. They never said why, but I knew.