Programmers often express their (over)dependence on each other by asking what would happen if one of their colleagues were hit by a bus. For example, “Who is going to maintain this code if Mike gets hit by a bus?” or “That’s great that Joe can fix this, but what would we do if Joe were hit by a bus?” The figure of speech is always being hit by a bus, never any other tragedy. I suppose being hit by a bus is sufficiently unlikely that it’s safe to joke about.
I had never heard of a programmer literally being hit by a bus until this afternoon. Thomas Guest wrote about a colleague who was actually hit by a bus. Of course that makes the metaphor more serious.
There’s nothing funny about actually being hit by a bus. And I am relieved to hear that his colleague was able to return to work. But I was amused that apparently on the other side of the Atlantic they imagine folks being hit by double-decker buses based on the photo Thomas includes in his post:
When I’ve joked about coworkers being hit by a bus, I’ve always imagined something more like a Greyhound.