Friday, January 06, 2006
I'm an addict
I quit a while ago, although I must admit it wasn’t the first time I attempted to give up my addiction. All in all, it was a good attempt. I didn't touch the stuff for more than eight months. But you know what they say: ‘once an addict, always an addict’. It’s not because you don’t do it anymore that you’ve become impervious to its magnetic force. Especially not when it’s installed on both your office and your home computers.
Yes, I admit: I’m addicted to designing and programming databases. It’s very sad to find myself in the upper strata of geekishness again. It’s a wonder I don’t run around with bulging glasses (sixties style), a white shirt with a selection of micro screwdrivers and grey trousers with pipes that are too short and a crotch that’s too tight.
My father used to entertain me with endless story about his database designs when I was young, to the point where I learned to dig escape tunnels at an astonishing rate to get away. I vowed to take a totally different course in life, never to find myself behind the screen of a computer all day, manipulating scores of data. Alas, look what’s become of me!
Can I make it up by saying that it’s not the manipulation of data that gives me wet dreams, but rather the manipulation of people? It’s just incredible how you can drive ordinary men and women insane by giving them a professional looking application that goes screws their hard won data completely up. All that work feeding a database with endless columns of numbers… just to find out that the application has ‘crunched the data’ in a very literal way. Or even more subtle: it gives biased and sometimes very strange results. For instance, I made a database once that under very specific circumstances proclaimed that 1 plus 1 is 3. Not always, just when you least expect it.
Now that’s sadism for the twenty-first century.