Geekdom

79990584MT001_RADIOSHACK_POMy grand design to publish while on pilgrimage to Assisi and Rome required a trip to Radio Shack. I was nervous but hopeful as I strode through the door.

The scene that awaited me was not promising. Every person present wore a look of impatient, sullen dissatisfaction. Everyone looked that way. There was no telling the unhappy employees from the annoyed customers.

Electronic machines were making repetitive noises, giving the store the ambience of a Chinese torture chamber.

I was not armed with clear knowledge about what I needed to buy. I was looking for a consultation–I needed an expert. And I needed a kind, patient expert.

revengeofthenerdsIt wasn’t always this way. I used to be able to geek it up with the best of ’em. I programmed. In 1984, I waited with eager longing for an Apple Macintosh with 512 kilobytes of Random Access Memory, which would make my world a new and exciting place. (I just purchased a memory stick with 8,000 times that amount of memory, and it is the size of two pieces of chewing gum.)

Back in my day, geekdom was a straightforward thing. Your glasses were taped together; you had an overbite; you were kindly but impossible to talk to. You knew things that other people did not. But they did not think that the things you knew were important. So they had utter contempt for you.

Now, though, the nerds hold the cards. Nerds rule the world. We have to wait around for nerds to give us the time of day.

Also, these days geeks have to specialize. No one can know it all. Back in the day, there were geeks with COMPREHENSIVE knowledge. No longer.

Trevi Fountain, Rome
Trevi Fountain, Rome
One thing that has changed for the better is this: Back when I was a card-carrying, computer-programming fifteen-year-old geek, you could have every necessary component, you could do everything just like you were supposed to do it, and STILL it wouldn’t work. These days, if you connect one thing to another, they will usually “interface” like they are supposed to. The devices have more native intelligence. The machines have gotten smarter, and the geeks have gotten more limited.

The Lord is kind and merciful, though. Everything worked out okay at Radio Shack.

I hope.

I have a bag full of adaptors and cables. May it please God that they are the right ones. I found the expert I needed, and he was kind and patient. He was helpful–above and beyond the call of duty. The sulleness was just a front. The Radio Shack was not a Chinese torture chamber. We can still hope in the goodness of our fellow man.