Misunderstood Requirements (After You've Written the Code)

As you install the final piece of crown molding in the dog's second bedroom, you can't help but smile at the absurdity of it all.

Misunderstood Requirements (After You've Written the Code)

This is part 6 of a 7-part series comparing different kinds of software bugs.

"Man, some people have more money than sense."

It's not the first time the thought has crossed your mind on this build.  As you install the final piece of crown molding in the dog's second bedroom, you can't help but smile at the absurdity of it all.  

Building second homes for the fabulously wealthy has been a profitable specialization for you.  Sure, some of their demands and ideas are a bit on the crazy eccentric side.  But they're more than happy to pay good money for them.

Poor people are crazy, Jack.  I'm eccentric.
  – Dennis Hopper as Howard Payne in "Speed"

You pack up your tools and take one last look around the place.  Nailed it, again, you smile to yourself.  

"Oh, Optimus, dahling, it's magnificent!"  (Wait, your parents named you Optimus?)

Eliza Beth Haversham wanders around her newly completed third (fourth?) home.  She squeals with excitement when she comes to the master dog bedroom.  "Lady Gaga!  Oh, you simply must see this!"  She unzips the front of her handbag so that her toy poodle can see the room for herself.  The dog pokes its head out, appears to nod approvingly, then retreats back into the comfort of the velvet-lined carrier.

Eliza Beth clearly approves of your work.  "Optimus," she gushes, "you've truly outdone yourself.

"I have only one question," she continues.

Smiling broadly, you reply, "Ask me anything."

"Why did you build the house backwards?"

The broad smile having left your face, you quickly respond, "Ms. Haversham, it's a mirror image of the original plans.  You were quite clear about that.  At least three times during our meeting, you pointed to the plans and said, 'Flip this side and this side.'"

"Oh, I remember as well, dear."  She raises her long, delicate finger and mimics her movements from that meeting.  "I said, 'Flip this side...'"–she points to the top of an imaginary set of blueprints–"'...and this side.'"  As she points to the bottom of the same imaginary blueprints you realize the source of the misunderstanding.

"I thought you wanted the house flipped left to right."

"No, no, no," she giggles.  "That would be silly.  I wanted you to flip the front and the back."

"I can't begin to tell you how sorry I am," you say.  "But you do seem to be taking it very well."

"There's no need to get worked up about these things," she replies, scratching Lady Gaga gently behind the ears.  "What's done is done.  Everyone makes mistakes."

You do your best to stifle your sigh of relief.  You never know how these types will react to a mistake like that.

"Besides," she says, "Lady Gaga and I will be in Aspen for the next four months.  That should be more than enough time for you to make things right."  She glides past you with a genuine smile, returning the house keys as she leaves out the front (back?) door.

As she drives off, you take one first look at the house and think,  I guess I better get my tools.  

Yes.  Yes, I guess you should.

External references

Speed (1994) - IMDb
Speed (1994) Dennis Hopper as Howard Payne

Referenced articles

Some Bugs are Better than Others
Not all bugs are created equal. Avoid the expensive ones by making more of the ones that are easy to find and fix.

Image by jotoya from Pixabay

All original code samples by Mike Wolfe are licensed under CC BY 4.0