Seriously, baby…I code

It was the late 1970’s and I was a computer programmer for a small Toronto firm. I was young and single and my buddies and I frequented strip clubs for entertainment . We were regulars at the Up Front Lounge and were known to the regular “dancers”, especially “Bambi” – a beautiful blonde. One night Bambi was telling my buddy, Ernie, and me that she and her boyfriend were moving the next day, but they had no truck for the move. As luck would have it, Ernie had a beat up old van perfect for moving stuff, so naturally we volunteered. Now this story isn’t about moving a stripper and her rock-guitarist boyfriend, it was totally uneventful. But this got us “in” with them and a couple of months later we were invited to a birthday party for Bambi.

The party was in the evening; at one point I found myself standing with a half-dozen complete strangers and we were talking about what we do for a living. It should go without saying that Ernie and I, a couple of computer nerds, did NOT hang out with the same kind of crowd as Bambi and the rock band.

One fellow said to me “What do you do? You look like a cop.” I replied “No. I’m not a cop. But you’re not the first person to say that.” “Seriously, man. You could be a narc.” “I’m definitely not a cop.” “So what do you do?” Remember, it was the late 1970’s. IBM had not introduced the PC. No one had heard of the Internet. Windows were only used to look outside a building. We computer programmers were a rare breed by today’s standards.

“I’m a computer programmer.” I answered. The small crowd immediately burst into gales of laughter. I couldn’t have said something funnier if I had tried. The laughter subsided and I repeated, with great seriousness in my voice “No, really. I……am…….a computer programmer.” Even louder belly laughs ensued – Johnny Carson, oops, Jay Leno would have been jealous. No job I have ever held has generated such hilarity as on that evening. Sigh.

Terry Sexsmith, Ontario