Hair-raising fish tale

The fish tape is the cabling industry`s version of a reconnaissance platoon and one of a technician`s most trustworthy tools. Sent inside dark and sometimes threatening lengths of conduit, the fish tape explores areas that may have been deserted for who-knows-how-long, all the while focused on finding the opposite end of the conduit and bringing a pullstring back to the tape`s point of origin. Sometimes the brave fish tape is sent in to unsnag a cable or otherwise unblock a conduit so another ca

Patrick McLaughlin

The fish tape is the cabling industry`s version of a reconnaissance platoon and one of a technician`s most trustworthy tools. Sent inside dark and sometimes threatening lengths of conduit, the fish tape explores areas that may have been deserted for who-knows-how-long, all the while focused on finding the opposite end of the conduit and bringing a pullstring back to the tape`s point of origin. Sometimes the brave fish tape is sent in to unsnag a cable or otherwise unblock a conduit so another cable pull can commence. And like a well-trained military outfit, the fish tape will continue its search-and-recover mission until given specific instructions to cease and desist.

This blind devotion and undying persistence have their obvious benefits, as any technician will tell you, but they can also lead to uncomfortable or embarrassing situations. Take, for instance, the technician who was fishing a conduit trying to find an obstruction and didn`t know that his tape had slipped past the obstruction and made its way through the entire length of conduit. In fact, the tape also maneuvered through the hole where the ceiling tile had been removed at the far end of the conduit and was exploring the surroundings of an open office.

Meanwhile, the technician continued to feed tape into the conduit--sending in as many troops as were necessary to complete the job.

Filled with gusto and equipped with a motto that read something like, "I`m not going back empty-handed," the fish tape finally settled on an object in the office.

On the other end of the conduit, the technician felt some resistance and assumed the tape had found the obstruction. He instantly began reeling the tape back in, anxiously waiting to see what this expedition had produced. The resistance he felt assuredly meant the trusty tool was now working to clear the obstruction it was sent in the conduit to find. Good ol` fish tape.

But after several unsuccessful (and forceful) tugs at the tape, the technician began to get frustrated. Unable to see far enough into the conduit on his end to find the obstruction, he decided to walk to the conduit`s other end and investigate. As he got closer to his destination, the sounds of office commotion got louder. He heard a few people ask, "What`s going on?" while several others inquired, "Are you OK?" and many uttered, "Try to relax." His interest was somewhat piqued, but he was a bit angered when he saw one of the office workers on a ladder, peering into the conduit he`d been fishing.

"What are you doing up there?" he sternly asked the man on the ladder.

Looking down, the man responded, "I don`t know what`s going on inside this tube, but a piece of metal tape came out of it and got tangled in Jennifer`s hair. Are you responsible for this?"

"No," the technician immediately responded. He looked at Jennifer, who was sitting at her desk with tears in her eyes, co-workers all around her, and the fish tape badly knotted in her hair. "But I`ll find out who is," the technician said as he scurried away looking for a place to hide.

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