• An early 1980 model of a portable computer (Photo - USGov, Public domain)

      An early 1980 model of a portable computer (Photo – USGov, Public domain)

      When I was much much younger, I wanted to have a life of high adventure and be a hero. Here I come to save the day – Mighty Mouse was my role model. Wimp turned savior. I loved the image.

      By Dee Falasco

      But, I was really a wimp. I did not want to really climb mountains to save the military secret from the armed guards in the Himalayas. Nor did I really want to be chased on narrow trails or between hot boilers or similar unpleasant places by bad guys. And, truth be told, if I ran around with any of those guns that make other people look sexy on movie ads, I’d probably end up shooting my own foot off.

      And I’m not overly fond of pain, extreme heat, or cold or confined quarters. I had to face it, I just wasn’t cut out to the life of high adventure and heroics.

      So, I took a desk job. I became a programmer. And I expected to be bored by it the way people sitting at computers look when you see them staring at their screens.

      What a surprise it became to me. Both adventure and heroics awaited my fingertips on the keyboard.

      35 years ago,
      I had to wait hours,
      chewing my nails,
      hardly breathing
      while I waited
      for the results to come back

      Adventure? Oh yes. While typing code, I build trails, invent enemies to defeat, climb impossible heights. I type what I want to have happen and submit it. And wait. 35 years ago, I had to wait hours, chewing my nails, hardly breathing while I waited for the results to come back. Oh the agony of a missed semi-colon! Repunch the card correctly and turn it back in. And wait. Then the results . Oh the ecstasy of the successful run. Now on to the next step; a higher hilltop, a more adventurous code.

      Now, with instantaneous responses, the thrills come faster and harder. Many say I am both comical and irritating to watch as I experience delight, despair, and cheer again in quick succession. One thing is for sure. I am having the adventure of a lifetime; right here at my own computer station.

      Dee Falasco

      Dee Falasco

      Heroics? Oh yes. The code I write is done with helping people in mind. It takes tedious jobs out of their hands. Like a magic sword, it saves them from the enemy of too many keystrokes, errors in entry, and hours of looking up stuff in other places. Over the years, the powerful little packages I have given people in the form of Excel workbooks have made me quite the hero in their minds.

      Let me tell you about my latest victory over the enemy; tedium, errors and frustration.

      I took one look at the Red Cross Response staffing workbook and offered to streamline it. “Expand away!’ she offered. Mighty Mouse is on his way! When I showed it her in a webinar a few days later, there was absolute silence on the phone. Gulp! I guess she didn’t like it. “Erin, What do you think?” “Oh”, she whispered. “I would never have DREAMED we could have something like this! Let’s show it to Helen.” Whew! Then we had a 3 way call/webinar. We had not gotten very far into the demonstration when I heard a scream over the phone. “Helen? What’s that?” “A scream!! A happy scream!” And while I was showing them, someone sitting in the office next to me pointed to the screen and said, “I want to know how to do THAT.” I can teach him. I’m a hero.

      If anyone were ever to ask me why I never pursued the adventurous, heroic career I had dreamed of, I think I can say confidently that I actually did.

      > This piece was performed on Feb.1, 2014 at the Variety Show at Throop Theater by storyteller Dee Flasaco.

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