Monday, November 08 2004

I think maybe I should have been a lumberjack instead of messing with computers.

The thing about being a lumberjack is that your tasks are pretty simple. You put on your flannel shirt, your boots, and your gloves, and you pick up your ax and look for a nice tree to fell. Once you’ve found it, you figure out where you want it to fall and then begin swinging your ax at the trunk like you’re a machine until it falls over.

Then you tell someone to pick it up while you head home. Your day’s work complete, you spend the rest of the afternoon and evening reading poetry, or bouncing children around and impress your spouse with your impressive muscles.

Computers are constantly fighting with each other, and humans keep figuring out more complicated ways of making computers fight with each other. You can’t just swing axes and make stuff fall down, first you have to figure out if you’re even holding an axe, and is the axe made of metal or rubber, and can the axe even be swung. And if the axe can be swung, when you swing it, will it cut through the air with ease or jump around like a flopping fish? Are you even in a forest?

Being a lumberjack produces obvious results. Forests get cleared, people see you swinging axes and knocking trees down, you work up a sweat, get calluses, chop off an appendage on bad days.

Programming computers produces nothing. Nothing physical at least. The worst callus you get is from pushing a mouse around, and the only time you sweat is when something is supposed to be happening, but isn’t, and suddenly every computer you own is maxed out.

And being a lumberjack probably means you smell pine fresh, as opposed to geek foul.