Geek Chic


It’s known in computer circles as a BSoD. Blue Screen of Death.

A fatal exception 0E has occurred at 0157:BF7FF831. The current application will be terminated.

* Press any key to terminate the current application. *

Press CTRL+ALT+DEL to restart your computer. You will lose any unsaved information in all applications.

Press any key to continue

It happens at random intervals in my computing endeavors, but mostly at the worst possible moment–when I’m paying my bills online or just about to save five hours worth of writing work. Click. Pause. Blink…it’s gone. And all that’s left in its place is the implacable Blue Wall of Nincompoopery, like a big sign asking, “Who let this chick near a keyboard?”

It makes me want to hoist my wretched, smirking computer onto my shoulder, where it will beg (beg!) in modulated electronic tones for a second chance to run my application before I pitch it unceremoniously out of the window and it explodes into fiery chunks on the sidewalk below. (Okay, I know it wouldn’t really explode, but that’s a satisfying detail of the fantasy, don’t you think?)

Fortunately for the traitorous lump of wires and plastic, before frustration finally mounts into violence, I usually remember Plan B: call husband. You see, I married a computer geek.

Yes, he’s also a poet, a dreamer, an athlete and a great dad, but definitely and unrepentantly a geek. Friday nights are more likely to find him at a LAN party than the local pool hall (think “poker night” with assault weapons and extension cords.) The intricate maneuverings of software companies are prime fare for our dinner table conversations.

My technological education really began when we said “I do.” As with other wives of geeks, it was mostly accidental. At first, all the jargon just washed over me in an incomprehensible river of geekspeak. When Paul said we were getting Red Hat, I went out and bought a dress to go with it. Asked by my dad about our new computer (which was brought home within days of our nuptials and placed with love on our shiny computer desk, like a newborn in a bassinet), Paul gave a ten minute description rife with acronyms and numbers. All I could tell my mom was, “It’s black.” That’s all she wanted to know, anyway.

But slowly, like a stranger in a foreign land, I started to pick up a word here and there. I learned that “fragging” someone is something to be proud of, and that Red Hat Linux, while superior in a server-based system, doesn’t make a good OS for the typical home user. I know how to reconfigure my internet settings and what “open source” means. I also discovered that liberally sprinkling one’s conversation with phrases like “server-based system” and “open source” is guaranteed to rev up a geek’s engine.

There are drawbacks to marrying into geekdom, of course: the endless TLAs (Three Letter Acronyms), the growing pile of stray computer parts and software boxes reproducing in the corner of the bedroom, the psychologically disturbing love/hate relationship with Microsoft. But I’m here to tell you, thousands of dollars and six operating systems later, that the benefits far outweigh the costs.

I’ve never seen Paul face a computer problem he couldn’t figure out, eventually. I can’t count the times I’ve called him at work, in a huff, to deliver the bad news that the computer was screwed up beyond recovery–only to have him fix it in five minutes over the phone. Even the dreaded BSoD is no match for the awesome technological might of my super geek. Some women’s husbands protect them from burglars or spiders or bad pick-up lines. Mine also protects me from spyware.

And so, to my own dear geek, I just want to say:

Roses are #FF0000,
Violets are #0000FF,
All my base are belong to you.*

*Looking for a t-shirt for your special geek? Check out

6 responses »

  1. Ok, I think your home is a carbon copy of ours!!!! Seriously, I just read your blog to my hubby and he’s started talking about how Mandrake Linux is no longer Mandrake, but is now Mandriva…and yes, we do run Red Hat on our servers, while, currently, we run Mandrake on our desktops – although I was just informed that we will be running Mandriva in the very near future. My hubby refers to Microsoft as Microsucks, and absolutely refuses to run any of their applications! Its more of a pain in the butt for me than anything else…something is ALWAYS different on my computer, so I’m always having to learn something new. We also have a room that is considered to be his office; I consider it the hottest room in the house since there are no fewer than 6 servers and 3 computers running at the same time – it’s noisy & hot in here and I hate it!

    But, such is my life. I can ‘geekspeak’ with the best of them now, and can pretty much help anyone having a computer problem by doing what I’ve seen hubby do. And, when all else fails, CTRL+ALT+Backspace will get me out of anything I don’t want to see any longer. We also run a computer on our TV in the living room – MYTHTV is the newest replacement for TIVO, and yes, it’s open-source. Most of what we run here at home is open-source including Open Office, Mozilla Firefox to replace IE, Mozilla Thunderbird for email, and Mozilla calendar to replace Outlook. Spybot & Ad-Aware are permanent fixtures on our machines too. And, don’t even get me started with Oracle – my hubby is a Collaboration Suite specialist.

    Yes, I married a geek and I love him dearly 🙂

  2. Katrina,
    I, too, have married into geekdom. The spare parts find their way into every storage space and seem to multiply like rabbits. I can relate to it all. Just today Brent helped me figure out how to do some itty bitty thing that had me stumped.


  3. I’m glad to see that other ladies, too, have discovered the joys of having their own live-in computer geek.

    Kathy–I know I should, but I like to live life on the edge.

    Jennifer–after reading your comments, it is obvious to me that you have almost progressed beyond the need for your own geek. Have you considered hiring out your trouble-shooting services? You could net some extra cash that way, I bet.

    Jana–Hmmm…multiplying computer parts. I am all too familiar with this phenomenon. But why can’t they ever assemble themselves into something really useful, like a massage chair?

    Paul–Your kung fu is the best.

  4. I bought my boyfriend the Caffeine Molecule shirt. Love that site.

    Interestingly – I had a post with this same title a while back. And I thought I was being all creatorly

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