Tuesday, February 4, 2014

The Family Geek

It's okay with me that I wouldn't qualify to join the brainy characters on the television sitcom The Big Bang Theory (although a recent silly Facebook test tagged me as a 'Bernadette') but I have held a role in my family for many years that was self-imposed. I am the family geek. 

I think it started in 1984 when, working at a local chapter of The American Heart Association, the first personal computers arrived in big heavy boxes and nobody on staff was willing to tear them open and set them up. I took the challenge and was so proud when that first, green glowing C prompt appeared. At 24 I could hear the Hallejuia chorus.

Personal computers have been my life since I started working as a newspaper reporter in 1980 and found writing on deadline exhilirating and next-to-impossible without my PC. My typing speed went to a phenomenal 95 words per minute but I was writing! Glory be! I still bowed down to the newsroom geeks who could 'magically' retrieve a vanished story. I was so intriqued when my painstakingly written news story had gone *poof* from my seat, they were always able to dig it up somewhere. A few years later, while working for TIME, Inc. always at warp speed on deadline, my PC actually starting smoking! All that helped then was a handy fire extinguisher. And all I could worry about while the techhies sprayed it with foam was where had my files gone?

So, it was no surprise that when computers came home, I was elected (or self-elected) to set them up and manage their insides. As they got more and more sophisticated, I had help from a local master geek and am proud to say I recently learned how to use an Apple MAC. I have rudimentary knowledge but enough that it is making me rethink my PC-only stance and consider getting a MAC myself.

How my very moderate tech savvy extended to our in-home phones, printers, televisions, and other electronic devices, I have no idea. I guess it's because I will read the instructions and wait on hold for tech support, as needed. And, I have the time due to my chronic illnesses that keep me home a lot. Finally, I hate outdated tech products so I try to stay ahead of the curve as often as my pocketbook will allow.

Except for one area of mystery - the darn cell phone. Planned obsolescence has gone too far with cell phones, in my opinion. No sooner do you buy one and it's a goner with no support from any vendor. We started with walkie-talkie type phones with our children, then earned flip phones that got smaller and smaller, and now have smart phones that are larger than our pockets, closer in size to iPads or Kindles or Nooks - really just mini computers. The mystery is: Why do I still get butt calls? 

My husband remains the carpenter, plumber, mechanic, electrician, and all-around fix-it guy, but when it comes to electronics I am proud to say - as the only female in my family - that the 'go
-to-gal' is me.

Ain't no small feat, if I might say so myself.

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