In the 70’s, we didn’t have cell phones (of any kind!). There was no Internet. A computer was something largely out of science fiction, or something you might use at NASA and if so, it was large, expensive, and had the processing power of your (non-Apple) digital watch today.
I remember playing a lot of video games. It started with Pong by Atari. Then Space Invaders, Asteroids, and Centipede. I spent every quarter I had on a game, which was about an hour at the arcade on Saturdays. If I paused a lot between them. That was my introduction to geek culture.
Then, in 1982, my parents bought me an IBM PC. It had no hard drive and two floppy drives. I used it to write reports but also started getting into writing programs for it. I played text-based games like Zork (which I managed to acquire for free somehow) and bought early issues of PC Magazine and drooled through the pages as if it were porn.
At my core, I was always a geek. I wore glasses, poorly fitting pants, and was picked on in school. I valued my schoolwork and self-taught myself a musical instrument. Soon after getting the PC, however, I started JV sports, became more “cool”, and focused on getting into college, which required (or so I thought) a lot of extracurricular activity. The geek was being repressed.
That repression went on until 1989 when I completed my coursework to be a Mechanical Engineer even though my school practically invented modern Unix (X11, actually, for the über-geeks among you). However, as with other aspects of my life, I eventually came out of the closet and embraced my geekdom. I played catch up with 10 years of computer technology and am a software professional today.
I feel like I’m home again.
How does it feel to be one of the Cool Kids now?
I don’t think the 20-somethings I work with would use the word, “cool” for me…. more like, “grandpa”! 🙂
Woo hoo! Space Invaders!