COMPUTERS

Background (it was back in the olden days, there may be terms younger readers don’t understand):

I worked for the crabbiest man in the world. A bigoted, racist and homophobic old fool, who denied he was of Arab descent and actually had his surname changed to that of his (English) step-father to obliterate any traces to a less-than-snow-white bloodline.

A tyrant of the worst order, nothing but a bully with the most extreme case of short-man-syndrome I have ever encountered. And he resisted change in any form, bar those changes which would result in him owning the latest gadgets and so being able to display these gadgets as a sign of his increasing wealth. Let’s call him Mike.
(‘Coz that’s his name
and he’s still around, I hear,
and still exactly the same). – a little bit of rhyme to lift the heaviness of this post.

At the time I was happily plonking about on a Daisy Wheel Typewriter (we made up newspapers in those days by pasting individual items onto the broadsheet layout and then taking a bromide of them!!!) and he would stand behind me barking insults if I made a mistake.

I am not going to turn this into a pity-party-post, but I suffered six years of abuse from this man. I had a nervous breakdown and recovered, but it was the computer that liberated me from him eventually.

Here’s the story / the computer arrives:

His arch rival at the golf club had announced that he had procured computers for his office and – of course – our chap had to do the same. The various boxes were delivered to my desk and I was sent off to do a course on how to operate the newfangled machine. It was all terribly exciting and I got the hang of it in no time at all.

Fearful of making his own ignorance apparent (and not prepared to suffer the indignity of asking to be taught) he studiously avoided even looking at my new computer.

Digression (it is important to the story, bear with me): Wednesday and Friday afternoons were golf days for the man and he was obsessed with the idea that I would be idle in his absence. The fact that I may sit at my desk doing the crossword puzzle for two hours just infuriated him and, in a flash of inspiration, he decided that the solution was for him to make me capture every single piece of typed paper in his wall of lever-arched files onto the computer. (Including detailed medical aid bills for his wife’s psychotherapy).

Digression #2: A year before, I had invested in those cassettes that let you learn French while driving in your car. I delighted in my little yellow Post It notes that reminded me to ‘buy Sta Soft’ or ‘renew car licence’; written in French and stuck on my desk, he couldn’t understand French and would go half-insane with restraining himself from asking me to translate them.

The end:

I resigned one Wednesday, after I completed (about) # 78 of his files.
I’d had enough fun translating and saving all his records into French and it was all feeling a bit boring. Besides, all the job adverts were screaming for people who were ‘computer literate’, I could really take my pick.

My letter of resignation was written in French.
I used a gay, Indian lawyer to sue him for my final salary cheque.

This posting was inspired by:
http://uphillwriting.org/2010/06/12/robert-a-heinlein-an-inspiration/

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9 thoughts on “COMPUTERS

  1. Ah, Cindy… It’s amazing how may people we know in common, despite being a mile or two apart. Thanks so much for sharing this. I especially loved how you did your bit to bring this man down a notch. ))

  2. LOL! A great story – both the story itself and how you write it, with that underplayed twist at the end (la torsion a la fin?).

    And made me remember when I was thrilled and amazed at my first early Brother word processor, with its orange text on a black screen. And before then, writing on typewriters at my college newspaper in the early 80’s and what we thought back them were pretty advanced tech processes. http://novaheart.wordpress.com/2010/03/15/woodward-and-bernstein-and-minnow/

  3. How wonderfully satisfying!!
    I remember the old cut and paste – we had to do all our technicon newspapers that way.

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