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James Callow Folklore Archive

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The James T. Callow Folklore Archive

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RITA MILLER, A STUDENT AT WESTERN KENTUCKY UNIVERSITY, WAS HIRED
TO ENTER SOME PAPERS FOR A SEMINAR INTO THE COMPUTER VIA THE
ADMINISTRATIVE TERMINAL SYSTEM (ATS). THE PAPERS WOULD THEN BE
RETYPED ON ATS IN A STANDARD FORMAT WITH NO ERRORS. AS WAS
THE PREVAILING STYLE, RITA'S HAIR WAS QUITE LONG. SHE BENT
OVER ONE OF THE ATS TYPEWRITER TERMINALS WHICH WAS BEING USED
TO OUTPUT A PREVIOUSLY ENTERED PAPER, AND HER HAIR GOT CAUGHT
IN THE MACHINE. THE TYPEWRITER CONTINUED TYPING UNTIL SOME-
ONE HAD THE PRESENCE OF MIND TO SHUT IT OFF. BY THAT TIME,
RITA'S HAIR WAS COMPLETELY WRAPPED AROUND THE ROD WHICH HOLDS
THE TYPE ELEMENT, AND RITA'S CHEEK WAS NEARLY RESTING ON THE
COVER OF THE TYPEWRITER. ALL ATTEMPTS TO FREE HER BY THE
PERSONNEL IN THE OFFICE FAILED, AND IT BEGAN TO LOOK AS THOUGH
HER HAIR WOULD HAVE TO BE CUT. HOWEVER, A CALL TO THE IBM
CUSTOMER ENGINEER (WHO LATER SAID IT WAS THE MOST INTERESTING
CALL HE HAD EVER RECEIVED!), RESULTED IN A DISMANTLING OF
THE MACHINE AND IN FREEING RITA FROM HER TEMPORARY BONDAGE.
RITA NOW HAS SHORT HAIR.

Submitter comment: THIS EVENT OCCURRED IN THE SUMMER OF 1971.

Where learned: KENTUCKY ; BOWLING GREEN

Subject headings: PROSE NARRATIVE -- Body part Senses
PROSE NARRATIVE -- Woman
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- School

Date learned: 06-00-1973

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