Troutbirder II

Troutbirder II
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Saturday, November 25, 2017

My First Computer Remembered

The following story is true. Only the names have been changed to protect both the guilty and the oblivious. The math department, under my classroom neighbor Creps, was the first to have a computer (an Apple) in the classroom. I soon borrowed the manual wanting to keep up with the times. It seems you had to "program" it yourself. Whatever that meant. I managed to accomplish the feat and showed some of my economics students how to use the machine. I plowed ahead requesting the second classroom computer to arrive in our high school. I had reported that my senior economics students were making graphs to show the linkage between certain demographic data and levels of economic development. The situation cried out for a computer solution as a more efficient means of producing a correlation co-efficient. I thought I might finally get some use for the knowledge gained in my college "Statistical Analysis" class. I finally got the computer for classroom use and a leave to attend a two day "Computer In The Classroom" seminar in Rochester, Minnesota.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Carrying the spanking new Apple II to the class, as required, I arrived at the site of the meeting early in the morning. It was the Holiday Inn. I knew where the meeting room was as we often had our regional union meetings there. Parking was a problem in the front , so I settled in on a residential street behind the motel rather than carry the computer all the way around to the front entrance, I opted to check a back door. Fortunately, it was unlocked and I entered a large very dimly lighted room. It was then that I saw a red exit sign across a large space.Pausing to look carefully about, it was then that I realized I was in the swimming pool area. Walking slowly, in the dim light, I proceeded to skirt the pool by a wide margin. And stepped blindly into an unnoticed kiddie pool, plunging head first, computer in hand, into about two feet of water. On my knees I lifted the computer out of the water and stood up. I was soaked from the knees down but otherwise remarkably dry. I then entered the a vacant hallway to the restaurant and found myself a bathroom. With about fifteen minutes to go, before the class was scheduled, the hand blow dryer was put to use on my pants and the dripping machine. "Mr Troutbirder?" I heard when I finally entered the meeting room. "Present", I said quietly, trying to be as unobtrusive as possible. I took the last empty chair available next to a fellow teacher, who appeared to be the motherly elementary school type. Setting the schools precious and no longer dripping computer on the table in front of me, I mumbled something about hoping it would work. "Mine too," the kindly lady said smiling. "This computer business is totally new to me," she added. To that, I tried to nod as sagely as possible and pointed to myself. Then for some strange reason my computer failed to "boot up." Upon raising my hand for help from the instructor, he was unable to determine the cause of the malfuntion. We were all puzzled! It turned out that the third grade teacher was willing to share her computer with me. She caught on quickly to the mechanics of computer operations and nurtured me thru the entire class. I thanked her profusely I returned to my high school later the next day computer in hand.  With as straight a face as I could manage  our high school principal Mr. Landover was informed that he had saddled me with a faulty piece of equipment. A new and improved model arrived shortly thereafter in my classroom and thus I was well on my way to becoming the "computer guru" of the History Department. I've also been avoiding kiddie pools ever since....

19 comments:

  1. Oh, that's a priceless story, TB. Glad to know your "faulty" computer was replaced. Hahaha! :-)

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  2. What a story! That high school certainly had to watch you for curves you might throw.

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  3. You are a slick computer guru. I would have loved to teach with you; together we could have stormed the educational barricades!

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  4. Hilarious story, Troutbirder. You were quick on your thinking (if not your feet).

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  5. Hi Troutbirder - fun story ... and so glad no more damage was done - cheers Hilary

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  6. Lovely tale, I hope you don't have that jinx with other electronics. I have dropped a few cameras in the water.

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  7. That was funny and weren't you lucky that the computer was all ready "faulty."

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  8. At that time, faulty could mean anything...LOL.

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  9. Fun story! Nothing like being an educator :)

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  10. Those early days of computers in our school were purchases from Radio Shack. I taught computer graphic design to students later, even though I was an art teacher. I was required at first to teach the class before school because my principal was archaic. By the third year I had packed class teaching skills in using the computer and also in design. I did get to teach during the school day and eventually became the tech director there but it took time to get people use to what I could do.

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  11. How funny!
    My first computer was a Commodore- a pre-64, too! The 64 was a big step up, and yes, we had to program it ourselves.
    With the help of some hardware borrowed from friends at NASA, we interfaced a Speak and Spell for a blind kid in my cousin's math class.
    Eventually all our rooms had computers and I used mine mostly for teaching art history and architecture.

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  12. My first computer was an Atari 800. The school had Radio Shack computers, but I never did much with them. I think you were lucky to get that computer replaced, no questions asked.

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  13. Hah! Pretty funny, TB. I tried the same excuse back in the day when I dropped my pager from my belt into the loo. The dept. secretary didn't buy it, but she nodded skeptically and gave me a new one.
    Our first 'puter was a Apple 2C, with every addition and gizmo available, including a second disk drive that got it up to almost 250K memory! The main user was my oldest, who learned Basic in a snap in the 5th grade.

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  14. What a hilarious string of events. Peter Sellers could have played you in the movie version. I loved that you didn't confess to dunking the computer in the kiddie pool.

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  15. Hi Troutbirder! What a great story! Wow, I did not realize you taught Economics. So did I. :-) Actually, it was my second favorite subject after Accounting. And that Accounting was before Quick Books. Hah. Anyway, I will be smiling all day about your encounter with Mr. Landover and the faulty piece of equipment. Re the kiddie pool … if it had been me, I’m sure it would have been the deep end of the big pool! Have a great week Mr. T!

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  16. Great post Sr T.

    They still haven't made the damn things waterproof. They can put a man on the moon, they can make an indoor ce-ment pond and a machine that will dry your pants off for you but try dropping your cell phone in the terlet.

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  17. Funny in retrospect, but oh, the horror of the moment!

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