I used to be a computer nerd. That's right, I started as a repair technician, then I became a programmer, pocket protector and all. I was so deep into the life that I carried not only pens and pencils in my pocket protector, no... I kept a screwdriver in there too. You know, one of those thin pocket screwdrivers that they give away at conventions, with a phillips blade on one end and a straight edge on the other. Did you ever see anyone actually keep one of those? Well, I did; I carried it everywhere I went. Along with pens, pencils, a thick pad with a folded ASCII chart and a tire gauge just in case.
I subscribed to Byte and Wired and Info Week and Dr. Dobbs and anything I could get my mitts on that might satisfy my craving to make my code just a smidge tighter or a nanosecond faster. I lived in a little flat within walking distance of two Chinese restaurants, a sub shop and a pizza joint, but I only ate out when my sink was overflowing. In other words, when the closest Chinese restaurant was taken over by new owners, they looked at the books and found that my orders accounted for 18.2% of the previous gross earnings.
And girls? Sure, I knew girls. Lots of girls. I had a great social life. Why sometimes, when a girl leaned over my desk to discuss a fine point of code her hair would brush against my naked cheek and I would smell her perfume, all hot and sensual and mixed with the sweetness of the old laser cartridges piled around my desk (really, I would promise myself, I'm gonna call and get them refilled this week) and the scent from the stacks of mostly empty cans of Jolt soda and the essence from the green and white stuff floating on the top of my styrofoam coffee cups. Sure, I knew girls. Lots of girls. And when they stood real close to me or leaned over my desk and let me have a quick peek down the front of their shirts and called me "honey" all soft and low, why... I knew just exactly what that meant. Yes sir. It meant there was another deadline coming.
I had a good life. I had the kind of life that any MIT undergrad can only dream about. But yet, there was something missing. And one day I realized that I was bored. It's just that I didn't know what to do about it. Until one day, sitting in the laundromat with a Hershey's Special Dark candy bar in one fist and a trapped fly that I wasn't quite sure what to do with in the other, my eyes happened to wander and there it was.
An ad for Sue and Eric's Ovis Aries Academy of Animal Husbandry.
I didn't have to try to memorize the phone number; I do that by habit. I just can't figure out who the phone numbers that I remember belong to. I always had this dream see, that one day I would call one of those numbers and say: "Excuse me but I represent the computer firm of Bit, Byte and Badinage and I was wondering if you could answer just one simple question. You could? Great! Who in the bloody hell are you and why does your phone number keep rattling around in my brain?" But alas. Some dreams shall always remain a vague unfulfilled longing. Especially now that so many people have Caller ID.
But there comes a time in every man's life to take the ram by the horns. To explore his destiny, to live his dream, to find his potential and to get rid of Paul the Pea-Brained Project Manager before he gets rid of me. And besides: it wasn't my fault. I was just joking with Ramone when I looked up and called across the room "Hey, Ramone, do you know what's dumber than a user?" "Why no," he yelled back, "I can't possibly think of anything." "Two users!" I replied gleefully just before we collapsed into a fit of giggling. And sure, I knew that my ole' buddy Paul was giving a guided tour of our state-of-the-art facility staffed by competent, proven, trained professionals. Hell, we'd been up since 2 am and besides, how were we supposed to know those bozos were from such a big account? Sheesh! How'd those guys ever get anywhere if they can't take a joke?
Well, I could take a joke, but I had a meeting with Paul in the morning. And I had a funny feeling that I was going somewhere myself. Well, it wasn't so much a feeling as that just about the time I felt the fly squirming around inside my fist it reminded me of what ole' P-B P said the last time I'd done something like this.
So all of a sudden the idea of quiet pasture lands took hold. Nothing but the sun on my face and the dew on the grass and Eric's promise that there wouldn't be a wolf within two hundred miles of my herd if I signed up today. He said I'd be able to graduate by June if I studied hard and kept my boots clean. And just about that time, sure enough, there was an opening on a farm in Kansas just like he said there'd be.
I tell you folks, I'm a changed man. Yes siree, it's just me and my sheep. The weather's fine and the sheep are mine and I love my job. Why I can just stand out here for hours. I adore my sheep. I can just stay out here all day and I just got a promotion because I'm so conscientious that I've volunteered to stay with my sheep all night too. Yup. I can just be with these sheep all the time. They know me and I know them. I mean, I really know them, you know? Why I can spend hours and hours with them critters. They're warm and fuzzy and well, cooperative. Mmmm, yes siree bob, cooperative they are. And they're mine. All mine. Any one I want, she's just mine and I love them and they love me and I'm finally living the kind of life I could only dream about when I was an undergrad at Bucks County Community College.
So take Sue and Eric's course in animal husbandry. It'll be everything they promise. And then some. But you stay away from my damn sheep, you hear me? Get a job in Oklahoma or somewhere and you just leave my sheep alone. Because I'm a graduate and they asked me to write a testimonial and I can tell you, I'm one satisfied man.