DBCOTW (Dave Barry Column of the Week)
Date: Tue, 8 Feb 94 18:11:06 PST
Subject: DBCOTW (Dave Barry Column of the Week)
Copyright: 1993 by the Miami Herald
People often say to me: "Dave, as a professional
columnist, you have a job that requires you to process large
quantities of information on a timely basis. Why don't you get a
What these people are REALLY asking, of course, is: How am
I able to produce columns with such a high degree of accuracy, day
in and day out, 54 weeks per year?
The answer is: I use a computer. This enables me to be
highly efficient. Suppose, for example, that I need to fill up
column space by writing BOOGER BOOGER BOOGER BOOGER BOOGER. To
accomplish this in the old precomputer days, I would have had to
type "BOOGER" five times manually. But now all I have to do is
type it once, then simply hold the left-hand "mouse" button down
while "dragging" the "mouse" so that the "cursor" moves over
the text that I wish to "select"; then release the left-hand
"mouse" button and position the "cursor" over the "Edit"
heading on the "menu bar"; then click the left-hand "mouse"
button to reveal the "edit menu"; then position the "cursor"
over the "Copy" command; then click the left-hand "mouse"
button; then move the "cursor" to the point where I wish to
insert the "selected" text, then click the left-hand "mouse"
button; then position the "cursor" over the "Edit" heading on
the "menu bar" again; then click the left-hand "mouse" button
to reveal the "edit menu"; then position the "cursor" over the
"Paste" command; then click the left-hand "mouse" button four
times; and then, as the French say, "voila!" (Literally, "My
If you need this kind of efficiency in your life, you
should get a computer. I recommend the kind I have, which is a
"DOS" computer ("DOS" is an acronym, meaning "ROM"). The
other major kind of computer is the "Apple," which I do not
recommend, because it is a wuss-o-rama New-Age computer that you
basically just plug in and use. This means you don't get to
participate in the most entertaining aspect of computer-owning,
which is trying to get the computer to work. This is where "DOS"
really shines. It is way beyond normal human comprehension.
It was invented by Bill Gates. He is now one of the
wealthiest individuals on Earth -- wealthier than Queen Elizabeth;
wealthier even than some people who fix car transmissions -- and
do you want to know why? Because he's the only person in the world
who understands "DOS." Every day he gets frantic phone calls
BUSINESS EXECUTIVE: Our entire worldwide corporate
accounting system is paralyzed, and no matter what we type into
the computer, it replies, "WHO WANTS TO KNOW? (signed) 'DOS.'"
BILL GATES: Ha-ha! I mean, sounds pretty serious.
BUSINESS EXECUTIVE: We'll give you $17 million to tell us
how to fix it.
BILL GATES: OK. Press the "NUM LOCK" key.
BUSINESS EXECUTIVE: So THAT'S what that thing does!
Thanks! The check is on the way!
My current computer, in addition to "DOS," has
"Windows," which is another invention of Bill Gates, designed as
a security measure to thwart those users who are somehow able to
get past "DOS." You have to be a real stud hombre cybermuffin to
handle "Windows." I have spent countless hours trying to get my
computer to perform even the most basic data-processing functions,
such as letting me play "F-117A Stealth Fighter" on it. I have
personally, with my bare hands, changed my "WIN.INI" and
"CONFIG.SYS" settings. This may not mean much to you, but trust
me, it is a major data-processing accomplishment. Albert Einstein
died without ever doing it. ("WAIT a minute!" were his last
words. "It erased my equation! It was 'E' equals something!")
I am not the only person who uses his computer mainly for
the purpose of diddling with his computer. There are millions of
others. I know this, because I encounter them on the Internet,
which is a giant international network of intelligent, informed
computer enthusiasts, by which I mean, "people without lives."
We don't care. We have each other, on the Internet. "Geek
pride," that is our motto. While you are destroying your mind
watching the worthless, brain-rotting drivel on TV ("Dave's
World," Monday nights, CBS, check your local listings), we on the
Internet are exchanging, freely and openly, the most uninhibited,
intimate and -- yes -- shocking details about our "CONFIG.SYS"
You would not believe how wrought up we get about this
type of thing, on the Internet. I regularly connect with a
computer group that has a heated debate going on about -- I am not
making this issue up -- the timing of Hewlett-Packard's decision
to upgrade from a 386 to a 486 microprocessor in its Omnibook
computer. This has aroused enormous passion. People -- some of
them from other continents -- are sending snide, angry, sometimes
furious messages to each other. I'm sure that some participants,
even as we speak, are trying to figure out if there is a way to
alter their CONFIG.SYS settings so that they can electronically
punch their opponents in the mouth. This debate has been raging,
soap-opera-like, for months now, and I have become addicted to it.
I tune in every day to see what the leading characters are saying.
You probably think this is weird, but I don't care. I am a happy
nerd in cyberspace, where nobody can see my haircut.
(C) 1994 THE MIAMI HERALD
DISTRIBUTED BY TRIBUNE MEDIA SERVICES, INC.
© 1994 Peter Langston