Tales from the Computer Mine

I am a person who despite appearing outwardly chaotic, is very much a person of ritual. There are several websites I check daily:

The “Blog” of “Unnecessary” Quotation Marks
Mustaches of the Nineteenth Century
Horror Movie A Day

However it is one website in particular that has made me think that I should start a daily blog about things that transpire at the Computer Mine:

Hobo Teacher

I’m not saying that I’m going to do such a thing, but if I ever get my FTP problems straightened out and a website suddenly exists at www.thecomputermine.com with a cool clip art graphic of a computer wearing a miner’s helmet, you just might know the anonymous blogger. In fact, I might make it a group effort. There are so many stories about this place that I might need some co-conspirators.

When I explain the Computer Mine to most people they without exception compare the place to The Office or Office Space. I will tell you a story that could a story about something that happened to me yesterday that could have literally been lifted from The Office.

When I first began my tenure at the Computer Mine I was immediately told who the people were that it was socially acceptable to like and who it was socially acceptable to dislike. At the time I was somewhat of a subhuman and didn’t really care to talk to anybody any more than was absolutely necessary.

As I have returned to the world of the humans and become a person with adequate social skills again I began getting to know and learn about the other people in the mine’s employ. For the most part I learned that the socially unacceptable people weren’t really that bad. They didn’t belong to certain social cliques and were less than socially gifted, but they weren’t necessarily bad people. It seemed more of a case where other people didn’t take the time or energy to get to know that person. They found out enough to make a cognitive shortcut and make their judgment about that person so that they knew how to deal with that person as a type rather than as an individual.

However, (not counting the middle aged shrews) there was one person that I have never been able to converse with at any meaningful level. Literally every time that I have had a conversation with him, it has ended poorly. Most people around the mine call him Chode. I have refrained from using this term because I don’t think most people have taken the effort to know what a chode is and what it is definitely isn’t the type of language that is thrown around a professional work atmosphere. Click “HERE” if you have a burning desire to know the definition of the term. I don’t recommend it.

I will call him D-Squared for the purpose of this story.

I feel sorry for D-Squared because I don’t think anybody ever taught him what it means to be a man. I mean to really be a man. I think he has cobbled together an image of what a man is supposed to be through images from television, movies, video games and men’s locker rooms.

Two examples of past conversations with D-Squared. On his work anniversary he brought puppy chow to work. I asked him if he made the puppy chow himself. He told me that he did make the puppy chow himself, while wearing an apron that said, “Suck the Cook”.

I was having a conversation with a co-worker about going to see Hairspray. D-Squared piped in and tried to run down my manliness for going to a musical. The co-worker pointed out that he was a hypocrite because he had went to see Rent. He countered that Rent was cool and perhaps manly because it had a stripper and she did a sexy dance.

To yesterday’s painful encounter.

I was shipping out a loaner computer. The shipping area in the mine is located near the vending machines. As I was printing the packaging slip, D-Squared came around the corner and said, “That’s what she said.”

I ignored him because I was quite certain that he was talking to Paul (who sits nearby) and not to me. I did not know that people actually used that joke in a way that wasn’t sarcastic.

I got down on my hands and knees to tape up the box because it is easier than bending over because I’m something like 64% torso.

From behind me I hear D-Squared: “You look pretty natural in that position, you have lots of experience like that?”

I finished taping the box up and stood up. I cut him off before he continued strolling down Gay Joke Avenue.

“When you were coming around the corner you said, ‘That’s what she said’. What had the person said; that made you think that such a thing would be a hilarious retort?”

“You had grunted.”

“Wow.” That was all that could escape my lips. I pushed the loaner computer over to the pickup area and walked away wondering if I would ever have an experience with D-Squared that wasn’t so painfully awkward. I am beginning to doubt it.