Laurels and Tardies

Wynn WagnerThis is kind of a big deal for me personally. This website. It is because the engine that does the squishy technical stuff is WordPress, one of the amazing software systems that is available on the internet. The content is stored in a MySQL database. Here’s the amazing part: WordPress and MySQL are absolutely free. WordPress is wrangled by a bunch of scripts that will make the best computer programmer go glassy eyed just before falling over in convulsions. MySQ, but the scripts usually get the job done. MySQL used to be something of a joke around computeroids, but the database developers got themselves a serious case of whoop-ass which they proceeded to pour all over Oracle and Sybase. The point is this: free software rocks. It is almost like they took a cue from… I don’t know… who? Fidonet? Opus?

It still gnaws at me. Because I spent years programming these sill silicon-based whoozits, I have a deeply held belief that I could probably do a better job. Belief? No: absolute knowledge that I could do a better job. It is the kind of corrosive knowledge that is bubbles around every time I launch somebody else’s program.

That’s one side of it. The other side is that running somebody else’s code is lazy. It is like the garden center at one local Home Depot. They actually have a tree staking kit. A what? No, really. It is a sharply packaged bag of wire and short wooden stakes, and there’s some kind of wrap to keep the wire away from the tree trunk. What’s more, they actually printed instructions for the kit. I’m surprised they didn’t include a hammer… unless the instructions tell the purchaser to go to the tool section to buy the hammer of their choice. I mean, give me a plank and some wire. I’ll break off some wood strips to use as stakes, and I’ll have the tree aligned and fastened in less time than a Gen-X Green-jeans can read the damned instruction booklet.

On the other hand, I’m retired from programming computers. I can rest on my … no, I don’t have any laurels. Where are my goddam laurels? WAIT, do laurels have thorns? I’m not putting my tush on top of any thorns for anybody. I’m retired, for Pete’s sake.

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