Friday, February 03, 2006

I wanna get

When I was a small boy I went through that period of saying "I wanna get it." My father would say that it wasn't worth the price. I would enthusiastically aver that it was indeed. He soon used the ploy (which I have since used on my own son) of saying "How much money do you have?" I attested that I had five dollars and some change. He would say that in that case, I could get it. I'd say "Great! Buy it!" He would say that the money would have to come from me. I would say, "No, let's just get it." He would say that I could get it if I would use my own money. I would say that I wanted to keep my money. "Okay," he would say. There would be a pause. "Let's get it," I would say. Him: "If you want to spend your money, you can get it." I recall saying once, "No, I mean our money." This cycle was repeated until I learned the lesson.

Some people never learn. I had one buddy in the early 1990s who kept enthusiastically saying that he wanted to go into business with me. He thought we should open an all-Macintosh gaming parlor where people would pay to play networked games. He said it would only cost $5,000. I had by that point started earning actual, non-newspaper, non-pizza-making money in the computer field. So I would have had the money, but I mentioned that most all game development was being done for PCs, not Macs. He sailed past that and again said we should go into business together. I asked him how much he would be able to put up. "I don't have any money," he said with that sad voice that Homer Simpson uses. This guy wasn't trying to sound like Homer Simpson, but he sure did. That ended that discussion.

Later, he wanted me to join a pyramid scheme that he had fallen into, one that I had been reading about in the paper. The cops and the DA were busting this one. I mentioned this to him and he just said the DA had to be mistaken, because this was no pyramid scheme. Anyway, I decided to bite my tongue and let the months pass. Several months later I asked him how much money he'd made in the deal, assuming that he'd lost a bundle. "Still makin' money!" he said with an enthusiastic grin that I knew hid a lot of pain. The pyramid runners must have trained the marks on what to say in response to this question.

I once saw him yell at his elderly, kind mother.

He used to send around emails with just a URL in them, and no explanation, assuming that you'd click on it and be amused. But I don't like getting friend spam, so I told him that I'm not going to go to a URL with no explanation around it.

One time on the web, I found a picture of human lungs. I sent him the URL, writing in the email that I thought the picture of human lungs was fascinating.

He wrote an angry, hurt email accusing me of hypocrisy. Hadn't I said that I didn't like emails with URLs? And hadn't I just sent one, fool?

He went on for quite a while about how predictable my stupid reactions were. I wrote back that since I was so predictable, why continue to goad me?

End of friendship.

I despise Microsoft's terrible software, but this guy had an unrealistic wishful fantasy that Macs were going to displace the Wintel platform. He was even quoted in the newspaper on this subject, at a time when his company was making products that undercut the Wintel dominance. He used words like "cool" without irony, said he would never work for Microsoft. I had to chuckle a few years later when his company was acquired. By Microsoft.
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