The year 1994 was pivotal for me. I had recently passed the dreaded “big five-oh”, now faced an empty nest, was changing careers and due to back problems was reduced to a power walker, thus ending 25 years as a dedicated runner.
It was also the year that IT Guy was born.
In spite of a career in industrial sales, I was totally computer illiterate, clambering around just to find the computer’s on button when I needed a sales report. How that information had already gotten into that aluminum abyss was beyond my imaginings. My amazement reached a crescendo when it somehow told another odd-looking machine, several rooms away, to print the report. If this was but a sample of what the approaching next millennium had in store, I knew I was in big trouble.
While I was busy was going back to school to advance my new career, my brother-in-law, a technology guru of the first order and having updated his equipment to state of the art, let me have his old personal computer. After a lengthy struggle to get it all set up, I sat there in absolute awe just looking at this array of equipment that was to take my into the future. I began to contemplate some of the names and phrases with which I needed to quickly come to terms.
Bytes? Was this machine going to lash out at me like a piranha if I did something wrong?
DOS? Did this stand for Devoid of Sentience? I knew I certainly was.
World Wide Web? And just where was this spider who was enticing this innocent fly into its web?
Windows? Was this a portal to someone at another computer looking deep into the recesses of my soul?
Dot Matrix? I thought she was just an imaginary character in the Star Wars Trilogy?
Memory? Was my every action on this technical marvel going to be squirreled away in some data bank on an astral plane like the Akashic records?
But I dove right in, in spite of my misgivings, and learned the ins and outs of computers to the point I was upgrading, downloading, uploading, de-fragmenting, scanning, replacing hard drives, changing batteries, adding memory chips, creating websites and just generally having a high old-time with my new toy. Now there is no computer technology I won’t at least try to tackle.
Which brings me (finally) to the point of this post…..the cost of achieving this knowledge.
Like it or not, I am now “IT Guy” at our domicile, responsible on a daily basis for ensuring all the information technology passes smoothly through the myriad of digital connections that dominate our lives. That includes two desktops for work, volunteer and social obligations, two laptops for staying on top of things while traveling, two tablets for each of us to read our varied books, two smartphones for quick and easy connections to family and friends, a fiber optic TV system that steams videos from our internet connection, and last, but not least, a home phone system that ties into our cell phones as well.
My dear wife, whose talents abound in numbers too large to list here, does not do high-tech. Just not her thing. So when an update, change, glitch or outright crash of any of the aforementioned devices regularly occurs, I soon hear the plaintiff cry for IT Guy! I quickly shed my Clark Kent attire, don my cape and tights, summon up my super powers and fly to my adoring Lois Lane to save the day!
By the end of a day it tends to overwhelm and I wonder just how we got into a state of dependence on this unseen force that seems to feed on our very soul. It’s then that I walk out to the dock with a glass of wine, sit in my chair with the dogs at my feet and feed the turtle that has come to know when I am out taking repose. It’s my erstwhile Walden’s Pond.
Later at night, relaxed and clear of mind, I gradually, but happily succumb to sweet Morpheus, knowing the next morning I will be innervated to once again assume the awesome duties of IT Guy.
But be sure to stay tuned for my next post, when I describe how I use my super powers to fly around the house changing all the innumerable digital clocks when daylight savings time comes to an end!