Confessions of an Egotist - Part I

05 Oct 2015 . . Comments

The egotist handyman


If you are reading this, you probably know who I am. If not, read on. If yes though, you will have no trouble identifying me as an egotist. I will elaborate on why I agree with you. But it might not be exactly for the very same reasons. In any case, read on.

For a better portion of my college life, I have played the role of a handyman. A high tech handyman if you will. How I get there is an interesting story. When I came in, I was just like everyone else. I had studied Math, Physics and Chemistry with a feverish reverence. Then I get bored of the practice tests that at one point I stopped studying with anyone amount of devotion. However, the practice before I gave up ensured I scored enought to get into here. However, I had a fetish for all things computer. I became a good consumer of all software products. Consumer. Not customer. After I had pirated enough Windows software to make me hate my life, I moved towards linux. It demanded that I know more than I already did. So, I begrdugingly started learning. I’d spend hours on end with no real aim, reading random things on the internet. After a while, I focused my attention towards Linux only. It ended with me becoming what people call a power user. I was not a technician, not an engineer, not a geek. Just another user who was determined to get the most out of the device that was at his mercy. Turns out, people don’t actually like power users. The efforts of a power user are seen as frivolous at best, criminal at worst.

In any case, I had more or less reached a plateau. I was no longer learning at furious rates, information that was not common knowledge among computer users. The feeling of knowing computers fooled me into thinking I actually had a passion for the computer science field. Turns out it was nothing but a simpleton effort to feed my ego and make myself feel superior to fellow computer users. I was playing it cool for a few months. I wouldn’t try to advertise that I knew these things that could make people’s lives a teeny bit easier when they had to deal with the electronic evil christened computers.

People often asked me where I had learnt all these things that enabled me to fix the problems they had. If I have to answer honestly, the only thing I ever did was to type the problem into Google. After a while, you get adept at sifting through garbage and finding the actual answers. That, and a lack of ungodly respect for computers that people thought computers deserved.

In time, I could no longer resist. I started with a lengthy presentation in a English class. Even though my aim was not to rub in people’s face that I knew some thing about computers, upon introspection, I think I exactly acheived that. I started blogging things soon. They were nothing that couldn’t be found on the internet if one was willing to spend a few minutes. But at that time, I thought it was a great thing to do. I bought domains, tried blogging frameworks, created websites and did so many things that were just fancy ways of burning money and time.

I was also fixing computers on the side. It was not exactly fixing as much as diagnosing software requirements and installing them. However, people thought that I was doing some magic, while in fact all I did was read exactly the error message said and tried a solution (Which was also suggested in the error message, most often, in plain words). People tend to often throw up their hands and say, “This damn thing just wouldn’t work”. They never read the error messages. For some reason, some people thought it was beneath them, or beyond them. The error messages being cryptic didn’t help much either. All the better for me. I could fix it for them and make them think that I possessed some unique talent. In reality, it was just the willingness to wade through tons of BS in the Internet.

Sometimes, I would fix their WiFi connections that RCC was reluctant to touch. Mostly though, it was software installation failures and already installed software going belly up. After a time, we had lab courses that involved software that one could install in their own laptop and practice. That was when the monster reared it’s ugly head. I soon started posting self professed tutorials that claimed to help people install that software. By no means was I the only person who knew how to do it. However, I was the only one dumb enough to go ahead and post it. Like always, people never bothered to read it. But the fact I did it was enough for my infant ego. People would come up to me and ask them to install it for them. I would convince myself that it was a learning opportunity, an opportnity to make friends, an opportunity to nurture my ego.

I installed Operating systems, Databases, IDEs, Cygwin. Nothing fancy. However that was enough for people to think that I actually possessed some talent. My classmate Mohan, along with the rest of my classmates bought be a domain to write thes tutorials under a single roof. His intention was one of the noblest, although I am not sure I was worthy of it.

As I was doing all this, people would often remark how I handled their laptops rudely, and how I was not very conducive to them actually learn what I was doing to their laptops. I have to admit, that I made no special effort to actually tell them what I was doing. Why I didn’t do that is something that escapes me. I am not justified in doing those things to their devices and their attempts to leant things. Some people were honest enough to tell me that they didn’t like to be dependent on me for trivial things like getting software on their machines and wouldn’t let me do things that they didn’t completely understand. I did my best to accomodate them. However, upon introspection, I think the reason for most people thinking that I was selfish on some level, with respect to computer knowledge, majorly stems from this part of my my behaviour towards them, and their machines.

Sometimes I would bitch to people who would listen that the rest of them were ungrateful for my efforts to help them. What didn’t get through my stupid head was that there was no request for this from them. It was my own undertaking, and they were under no obligation to pretend that they were grateful for my efforts. This continued, for quite some time. I still didn’t realise nobody cared for all this. But I did make some really great friends. For some reason, this thing I was doing also made me feel more sociable. And I was grateful for that. So, in an effort to expand this, I decided that my classmates wanted to listen to me teaching them about computers. Now that I think of it, I cannot believe how stupid it was. But I did go through with it. But that is for next episode. See ya.