Geek Rhétorique

Chapter 1

I woke up early one day last week with a throbbing brain-boner (the feeling that your brain has filled with fluid and expanded to twice its normal size). It must have been before noon. I tripped over my black sequined mini-dress on the way to the bathroom and nearly knocked over my Steuben floor vase; I guess the microformats meet-up got a little out of control the night before. From the way my karotz's ears were twitching, I knew my phones must have been ringing like mad all morning -- clients, colleagues, columnists, cocktails at 7.... My iPad linked in and transcribed the whole list, automatically penciling in commitments on my electronic calendar. Thank God the coffee was brewed and hot.

As I scanned the day's schedule, I noticed the name of the last person who called, a Bryce Ridgeley. Was he that reporter who was after me for an interview? No, I remember -- the Ruby on Rails Charity Benefit bash last weekend. He'd seemed dazed and somewhat lost, but not bad looking, so I struck up a conversation. Turned out he was an artist, of all things -- a painter, I think, who had been invited because half the attendees had funded his work through a regional arts commission. Don't know how he got my number, but now he was calling, desperate to speak with me. I auto-dialed him.

"Brutish greetings, what can I do for you?"

"Personal crisis. Can you help?"

We ended up at the Très Bouffée Café over cappuccino and sundried tomato foccacia discussing his future. The geek gathering had been the final straw for Bryce. He bemoaned the wasted meaninglessness of his career, the endless monotony of egotistical, self-absorbed pursuit of personal glory. I'd heard the same chat a hundred times from actors, authors, politicians. Once they get a taste of cyberspace, they become obsessed.

Of course I understand, but they have to realize, the technolife is not for everyone. I reached into my pocket protector and pulled out a pen and a business card. I wrote the names of a few good professional associations on the back of the card and handed it to him; he'll probably attend the meetings, like so many hopefuls. He'll subscribe to the publications, but he'll just look at the diagrams and code fragments with starry eyes. I wished him luck and turned down his invitation to the governor's banquet; I'd already made reservations for London that weekend, and besides, I was late for a requirements meeting with a user.

I hopped in my Lexus. Checking my email on the dashboard panel via bluetooth to my iPhone, I made a personal note: Need a web page for these poor cyber-hungry masses. Maybe they can't all become geeks, but at least they can interact with us. People like Bryce long for the glamour that they perceive in the cyber world. They see our shiny, thick glasses, our slick pocket protectors, but they don't realize all that glitters is not gold. It's time for them to know who we really are.

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