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Charlie Hatton
Brookline, MA

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Howdy, friendly reading person!
I'm on a bit of a hiatus right now, but only to work on other projects -- one incredibly exciting example being the newly-released kids' science book series Things That Make You Go Yuck!
If you're a science and/or silliness fan, give it a gander! See you soon!

Goofball at the Garage

We have a saying in our office:

It’s never the rocket science stuff.

Meaning that it’s not the complicated, convoluted, thinky sorts of things that we spend most of our time on, nor are those the sorts of things that cause us the most headaches. We’re a code-writing group for the most part, and we do occasionally run into some sort of mondo scary algorithm or brain-melting logic to code. But those are not our biggest problems.

It’s not like those things are simple, mind you. I, for one, am not the perkiest pair of nipples in the proverbial porno — so these sorts of intellect-requiring projects can cause their share of hair-pulling days and fitful, sleepless nights.

(Well, it’s either the projects, or those lunch-truck burritos I’ve been eating. I’m guessing it’s a little from column A, and a little from column B.)

“I’d be sitting there, doing half the hokey pokey in my driver’s seat, while cars piled up behind me waiting for their turn. Is that any way to start a day of being shackled to your cubicle? I think not.”

But for all of the ‘hard‘ work we struggle through, it pales in comparison to the time spent tracking down the ‘easy‘ stuff. Scanning thousands of lines of code for a rogue comma or semicolon. Troubleshooting a system top to bottom — only to find that someone accidentally kicked the plug on the server. Trying desperately to understand the problem a user is seeing, and later discovering their video card was on the fritz. These are the most common issues — the piddling little details that grind us to a halt every now and then. It’s never the rocket science stuff.

Why do I bring this up? Because for me — not the swingingest single at the orgy, remember — this rule of ‘easy stuff hard’ seems to extend to my commute to the office, as well.

To be fair, there is some ‘hard stuff’ involved with driving to work, as well. Unsynchronized stop lights, speed traps, elderly Sunday-driving obstacles — but I can usually find my way around or through these difficulties. My biggest problem lately has been the card reader at the office garage.

The reader panel is a flat plastic rectangle, about three inches wide by five inches tall. At the upper right corner is a little status light — the sort of thing that lights green and bleeps reassuringly when you’ve been scanned properly, or flashes red and bleats at you like an angry goose when there’s an error. For months — months, I say! — I believed that the ‘status light’ was also the card reader. Most of the card readers I’ve ever seen have a little optical dealie like that to recoqnize the card.

What I could never understand is why scanning the card was so damned difficult. I took great pains to shimmy the car close to the reader, and stretch my card up by the light. But often I’d have to wave it back and forth, turn it around, and waggle it up and down to get the stupid garage to let me in. I’d be sitting there, doing half the hokey pokey in my driver’s seat, while cars piled up behind me waiting for their turn. Is that any way to start a day of being shackled to your cubicle? I think not.

So, on Friday I made the discovery that you must have seen coming by now. The status light is just that — a light. A simple brainless LED, blind to the world and ignorant of any cards or raving idiots waving around in front of it. As it turns out, the whole rest of the panel is the card reader, and — assuming you actually wave your card in front of it — works quite nicely. All those times I sat, waving and swiping and cursing Henry Ford and Karl Benz for popularizing the production of the infernal machines that led to my garage fiasco, I was missing the card reader doohickey entirely. I might as well have waved my card at the garage wall, or in front of the attendant’s face.

(I tried the latter once, actually. The guy let me into the garage, but I’m convinced he snuck over and peed on my wheels while I was at work. When I peel out, it still smells like asparagus.)

Anyway, now I know. So I should be able to get into the garage without any further delay or humiliation. I suppose the moral of the story is this — when you’re not the sharpest shucker in the crab shack, everything is ‘rocket science’. Meh.

Permalink  |  1 Comment

One Response to “Goofball at the Garage”

  1. Roofie Raccoon says:

    Cubicle workers unite! (Imagine I’m pumping my fist in the air right now)

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