Thom’s Thursday Thoughts on Computers

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When Tom and I first started traveling together, I watched, on one international flight, as Tom wrote “computers” on the customs form in the spot for “Occupation.”“Computers,” I snorted.

“Oh yeah,” he said, “People have no idea what that means. They think it’s complicated so they’re just like, ‘Uh, okay, go.'”

I shrugged. Made sense I guess. At the time and for two decades before, I was a “student.” My dad used to write the similarly vague “Businessman.”

Now I think I’ll just put, “Yes.”


A few months ago, when it was still cool out, Tom and I headed home from a bar with friends. We hailed a cab, one of those boxy ones with the sliding doors and tiny windows.

As we clambered in, a guy and his girlfriend came rushing up to the cab. The man pounded on the door, insisting the cab was theirs.

It wasn’t. They’d been across the street. Even the cabbie rolled his eyes.

“Get out,” the guy said, “c’mon, get out.”

Tom, being a gentleman, had gotten in first and already had his seatbelt on. He didn’t seem to mind that the guy was shouting and intoxicated, or that two of our friends were still climbing in. Tom was looking forward to going home.

“C’mon, get out,” the guy said again. He was also a white with an Asian girlfriend. The girlfriend looked embarrassed. She tugged at his lapels and whispered at him to leave it, but he was adamant about proving his pointless point.

Which, apparently, was to go White Guy to White Guy (our other guy friend was Indian). In a final effort to prompt a showdown, he slammed the door one final time and pointed at Tom. Then, like the steroidal villains in cheesy movies, pointed at himself.

“You and me,” he said, “Let’s go.”

But then we closed the door and we really did go.

“What a psycho,” said a friend.

“He probably wanted to impress his girlfriend,” said our Indian friend.

I turned to Tom, who had a mild, unaffected expression on his face, as though he were already thinking about brushing his teeth.

“That guy wanted to fight you!” I said, “Like he really wanted to fight you. He pointed at you!”

“Well tough shit,” Tom said, leaning back into the seat, “I’m not gonna go around getting into fights. That’s not why I got into computers.”

Happy Thursday, everyone.

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