READY, FIRE, AIM: when geeks ruled the world

geek n slang

1.a person concerned or very knowledgeable about computers
2.a boring and unattractive social misfit

Yes, I was a geek in high school. Even before high school. Guess I was probably a geek in kindergarten already.

Come to think of it, my mom bought me a little clip-on bow tie – a plaid bow tie – to be worn at church and at weddings and other ceremonies where a four year old was allowed to dress as a miniature adult, instead of a four year old.

And she bought me some clip-on suspenders for those same special occasions.

Maybe she recognized that I was meant to be a geek.

Not a preoccupied geek or computer geek – not at first. This eventually happened in high school, back when people still referred to “data processing”.

But the boring, unattractive, socially inappropriate part… that part was always immediately obvious, to anyone who met me, even when I was very young.

So it was a total surprise when Darlene wanted to marry me, a geek who could barely use a messaging app. It seemed perfectly natural when she ran away with that phony prick. He was not a geek; just a jerk.

I was listening to NPR last week and heard a commentator say something like, “Geeks were unpopular. Now they are running the show… ”

The snow cool be a geek. In fact, geeks are now running the world.

Do I really want to be part of this club?

I learned to type (in a way) on an electric typewriter that had gathered dust in my parents’ basement. (Mom had been a secretary before she had kids. Guess she had the typewriter on hand, in case Dad ever got fired. She never suggested such a thing when I was around. ear, so that’s just a guess.)

Then one day a friend showed me his new Apple Macintosh computer, which was so much sleeker than the stupid IBM machine my boss used to do his bookkeeping. The cute little computer had 128 kilobits of RAM. (My current Mac’s RAM is 125 million times the size.) You could type on it, like on a typewriter, but it was so much easier to correct your mistakes.

I was deeply in love. (Please do not share this column with my ex-wife Darlne. She would not be happy.)

Unfortunately, the small computer cost $ 2,500, which was kind of my annual salary in 1981. So I continued to use a typewriter until 1998 when the iMac G3 was released. This computer was just as beautiful, in its own way, as the first 128K Macintosh had been …

May be more beautiful?

(I’ll reiterate my comment about not sharing this column with a certain person.)

And it was half the price my friend paid for his original Macintosh. (Considering inflation, it costs a quarter of the price. Thanks, Federal Reserve Bank!) And it could connect to a DSL Internet phone line without the need for an outside modem.

The internet was hardly worth connecting, of course. No video streaming. Amazon only sold books. eBay had 30 employees and their primary market was recycled Beanie Babies. Most of the websites were hideous to look at because they were designed by geeks.

Now these same geeks, or the ill-begotten children of those same geeks, rule the world. A normal person can’t even function without constant reference to this or that technology – Facebook or Instagram or Disney + or Spotify – technology entirely controlled by geeks.

It’s not clear that a comedian writer like me can truly qualify as a geek, simply because I spend all my hours creating content for the World Wide Web… a term that has sadly fallen into disuse. I say, unfortunately, because the Internet is, in fact, very much like a spider’s web that there seems to be no escape from.

Even the geeks are trapped. Perhaps more seriously entangled than the rest of the world?

Which shows, I guess, that justice exists.

Louis Canon

Louis Canon

The underrated writer Louis Cannon grew up across the vast American West, though his ex-wife, at the slightest opportunity, denies ever growing up.

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