Messing around with your fellow Joes is always good fun. It's a lighthearted way of letting them know that they're "one of the guys." After all, if you didn't care about someone, you wouldn't mess with them — right?
Every unit has a communications (commo/comms) person. Oftentimes, the guy spending his time in the commo shop (S-6) gets a little lonely, toiling away at fixing the internet or the Commander's computer. What better way is there to let them know that they're a part of the team than by messing with them from time to time?
Doing any of the things on this list should come from a place of mutual friendship. Don't do anything that would get you UCMJed, impede the mission, or cost you your military bearing. Basically, don't be a dick about it.
7. Call them 'nerds'
Enlisting in the Army as a computer guy is one of the least 'grunt' things you can do. Chances are, they're well aware of how 'POG-y' they really are and will brush it off.
If you really want to push their buttons, just slyly refer to them as 'nerds' in conversation. They'll try to deny it, but we know. We all know.
Anyone want to try and guess their MOS? (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Manuel A. Estrada)
6. Say, "but I tried turning it off and back on again!"
A good computer guy will know the ins and outs of how to fix the problem. But as everyone in the military knows, being in a position doesn't always mean they're qualified for the task.
An easy solution that many of the younger, more inexperienced computer guys will default to is called a "power cycle," which is literally just turning it off and back on again.
"I tried using compressed air, but that didn't work either. Figure it out." (Photo by Sgt. Daniel Schroeder)
5. Give them a dumb but effective password
Say something like, "one two, three fours, five sixes, and seven." When typed out, it should look something like, '244466666&seVEN!'
Technically, it meets all DoD guidelines — with the added benefit of the commo guy looking at you funny.
It's not like our admin passwords are that much more difficult, though. (Photo by Timothy Shannon)
4. Ask if that red cable you snipped was important
The red cable is "SIPR Net," or "Secret Internet Protocol Router Network." It's used for much of the highly-classified communication that needs to remain secure and separate from everything else you'd normally do on the internet.
The commo shop is supposed to be the custodian of the secret internet. Sometimes, they need a little reminder that its security is important.
That, or they just ran out of every other color cable. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Renae Pittman)
3. Tell them to fix their loose cables
Ever see someone spend way too long to get whatever they're setting up juuuuust right? That's how the S-6 is when it comes to arranging the internet stacks.
After they spend hours working on making it beautiful, tell them it's slightly off. If their cables actually look jacked up, tell them they fail as a commo guy.
Hours upon hours of work. And if it's not color-coded, it's time to start over again. (Photo by Sgt. Frank O'Brien)
2. Ask if they can get it done faster
It may not seem like it, but there's a method to the madness. If the problem can be solved at the lowest level, they'll do it. If the problem is too big to handle, they'll try anyway.
But a third of the time, the issue is locked behind higher level administrator rights than their shop can access. Now, everyone is working on the civilian contractor's time. When the commo shop can't do anything about it, make sure to remind them to go faster.
The work order is put in — no need to remind us every few months about getting it back... (Image by Headquarters, 4th Infantry Division Public Affairs)
1. Fake-spoil some nerdy TV show or movie
Remember a few points ago when I said they hate being called nerds? Drive that knife in deeper by fake-ruining something they like.
Don't be that asshole who actually ruins the movie (or do. I don't care and you're an adult), but if the film just came out and you know they haven't seen it yet, make up some random crap just to mess with them. If they've already seen it, they'll get that you're messing with them, but if they haven't, it'll throw off their entire day until they realize you're full of sh*t.
Just watch out for the small, squirrely bastards... Unless you can take them. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Lance Pounds)