Monday, March 10, 2014

We Were Like Gods

To set the stage, BC, before children and calligraphy took over my life, I was a computer programmer. I began in the early to mid-1980's working in the early days of computers for small business. Personal computers were still a decade away, and we worked on mini-systems. Computers were no longer so large they needed their own building like ENIAC and UNIVAC, but they were still large, about the size of a full-sized automobile. I worked for a small, software house where my job was to tweak the back-office accounting package the company sold to banks. I had the lofty title of "consultant" and serviced 21 banks in 5 states.

The Young One told me, in general terms, a bit about working on the game project and working in a group.

"...and then we didn't have much to do because we had to wait for the code monkeys," she said.

"Excuse me?"

"Code monkeys...programmers."

"Code monkeys? CODE MONKEYS! Programmers. COMPUTER PROGRAMMERS. I'll have you know we were treated like gods!

"I was picked up at the airport in a limousine. When I went to the banks, crowds would part like the Red Sea when I walked down the corridors. I would hear hushed and reverent whispers, 'Here comes THE Programmer. THE Programmer is here.' I would be shown to a private office or corner workstation where workers were told 'Don't disturb THE Programmer.' Someone would be assigned to bring me a cup of tea just the way I liked it or to timidly ask if I would like a muffin, donut, bagel, or sandwich. At one bank, the woman who was in charge of keeping track of the safe deposit boxes wept with gratitude after I wrote a small program to automate when the safe deposit boxes were to be renewed. She no longer had to wade through an index card file. Hours of work for her was reduced to a few minutes with the press of a button. After that, every time she saw me, she thanked me profusely.

"Computer Programmers. We were like gods."

"Yeah, so, we had to wait for the code monkeys to finish..."


  1. I remember it well, the good old days. Thanks for making me feel sooo old :)

  2. KIDS! They have no respect! ;) (I dated a ‘code monkey’ back in the day!)