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I Once Knew How to Code

I Once Knew How to Code

This week began with a dreary, showery day, perfect for making a few changes to my website. My home page had two photos, important photos, that didn’t display correctly on smaller screens. Piece of cake, I thought. I’d finish fixing them by lunch.

Reader, it took as much time as tossing a magical ring into a volcano. After downloading a plugin with instructions written in ancient Greek, conducting an epic search, and then finding out that I was researching the wrong problem, I finally found an online forum. Like the elves in The Lord of the Rings, these computer wizards were kindly, intelligent beings who speak their own language, one that looks sort of like this:

.do-not use: this {

#is: fake;

code: 0;


And, yes, I’m grateful, but… but… but I  once knew how to code. I could write commands with either BASIC or FORTRAN, and the computer obeyed me. (Except for the infinite do-loops, which we shall not discuss.)

But times change. The languages that let me program repetitive calculations and create silly computer games disappeared, replaced by elegant word-processing systems and canned spreadsheets. I couldn’t achieve anything close to their speed, accuracy, and beauty using my old skills. Still, it felt like exchanging my rusty bicycle for a classy limousine with a chauffeur. I could go farther and accomplish more, but I missed the wind in my hair, the independence, and the challenge.

Problems will continue to crop up on my website, though, so the thought has been niggling at the back of my mind all week: could I learn a new language so I can fix future issues myself? After all, how hard could it be?

And why did my website’s entire life just flash in front of my eyes?

For other funny posts about the writing life, read TO WRITE AS FUNNY AS I CAN and THE TRAVELING WRITER.

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