9 System Administration Curses

 We all get frustrated from time to time (yes, even system administrators.) One very common way that we let off a little steam is with a few well-chosen words. It’s one thing to let loose with a string of invective that would make a sailor blush out of sheer laughter when you’re alone, but it’s just not good form to do it while sitting at a user’s desk with them watching over your shoulder. That is, unless you want to go to that $&#@% HR sensitivity training again.

We’re all familiar with the standard replacement curse words such as gosh, dang, flip, crap, and dagnabit. The trouble with these is that people know what you really intend to say so they lose some of their power. So, I present you with 9 good swears to use while working in a public space that will be mistaken for technical jargon, or at least the ravings of a harmless homeless person (I’m not sure which is better.)

1. PEBKAC 

An acronym standing for “Problem Exists Between Keyboard and Chair” which refers to the user as the source of a problem. When pronounced it sounds somewhere just technically complex enough that people will generally be afraid to ask what it means. 

Example: How did that file get PEBKAC’ed from the disk *and* the backup? 

2. Bent Prong 

Having had the experience of dealing with fragile prongs in serial and VGA cables over the years, for me this curse comes from a very dark place. The fact that it sounds vaguely dirty is a plus.

Example: This installer is really bending the prong.

3. BitBlt 

Short for Bit-Block Transfer, this is a programming term relating to efficiently moving pixels around on the screen (or in an image.) It’s a good replacement for minor frustrations, such as when you accidentally hit the wrong button or forgot to enter the system BIOS and have to boot the system again.

Example: Bitblt it, I did it again. 

4. Twisted Pair 

Refers to a type of wiring or cabling, most commonly network cables such as CAT-5. It’s a great replacement when referring to a faulty component where you might say “piece of…”  

Example: Why won’t this twisted pair stay connected for more than five seconds? 

5. Sum of a BIOS 

This nonsensical phrase won’t easily get confused like the more explicit “Son of a Batch.” It sounds just slightly jargony to the point that most people will be embarrassed to ask its meaning because they think they should already know.

Example: Is that sum of a BIOS keeping it from running? 

6. Reg Hack 

This one is already somewhat of a curse, and you can use it literally and still get the full effect.

Example: Looks like it’s going to need a reg hack. 

7. Feldercarb 

This one will only be familiar to fans of the original Battlestar Galactica, so most people won’t have ever heard it before. It’s less dangerous to use than its more popular cousin Frak. It also includes the word “carb” which is its own dirty word these days.

Example: That feldercarb is going to get me to viper all over my cylon. 

8. SCSI Disk 

Always a fun one among computer nerds since its introduction. Scuzzy Disk just rolls off the tongue. Even with its vaguely dirty sound, it’s much more light-hearted than other swears.

Example: Well, if that don’t just initialize the scsi disk. 

9. SCO 

For when you need some extra punch, SCO is one that really has some weight behind it. “Get the SCO out of here” and “Shut the SCO up” are not only good replacement curses, they’re also quite meaningful in their literal sense. Plus, even when explained to the uninitiated they still won’t get the full meaning.

Example: Why won’t this SCO just finally end? 


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