Is the Helpdesk Guy making fun of you? PEBKAC, ID10T, and other clues!

Prof C Explains
3 min readJun 24, 2021

Have you ever suspected that perhaps the helpdesk guys are making fun of you when you call them up? Are they using some terms that don’t seem to relate to your particular problem, but everyone on the other end of the line seems to be chuckling?

Well, then perhaps they’re making a little bit of fun at your expense. If you want to be in on the joke, look out for these terms!

If the support person tells his friends that he has got another BFU (beefoo) on the line, well, that might mean that they think you’re a Brain Free User.

Suppose they tell you that you might have an IBM error. That may not be a problem with the International Business Machines equipment, but rather the fact that there is an Idiot Behind the Machine.

To avoid being an IBM, you should probably RTFM Read The F&@(ing Manual!

RTFM, and you will also not be an ID10t (pronounced ai-dee-ten-tee, aka an idiot). The Navy Helpdesk instead says ID10T (eye dee ten tango). And in the Army it is 1D10T (one delta ten tango).

A Layer Eight Error is a sign to the networking team that a user is screwing up once again. Networking folks know to use the OSI model for solving network connection issues. It only has seven layers — the eight-layer is the user.

Problem Exists Between the Keyboard and Chair!

One of my favorites is PEBKAC; the Problem Exists Between the Keyboard and Chair!

There are tons of variations on this one:
PEBMAC= Problem Exists Between Monitor And Chair
POBCAK=Problem Occurs Between Chair And Keyboard
EBKAC=Error between keyboard and chair
PEBUAK= Problem Exists Between User and Keyboard.

And another one of my favorites is when someone says this is a PINIC (Problem In Chair Not In Computer)

Prof C Explains

J Scott Christianson: UM Teaching Prof, Technologist & Entrepreneur. Connect with me here: