Friday, July 4, 2008

The Cripple at COMDEX

Judging by my emails, I gather that a large percentage of my readers have attended a trade show or convention of some type in their past either as part of their job or as a hobbyist/purist.

I attended my first trade show, COMDEX, back in 1985, as a guest of my mentor, Dr. Sutter. At the time, I was new to computers, at least the computers we all know today. I had taken a couple of programming classes in FORTRAN back in the late 70's, but the personal computer was just really beginning to make its way into everyday life in the mid 80's.

The photo below is a picture of me taken at the Lotus booth by Dr. Sutter. I had a beard back then. And let me pre-emptively nip the inevitable emails in the bud by stating we had separate rooms at the MGM Grand. Its now Bally's, I think. (Click on image for better resolution.)

I remember engaging in a heated argument with the guy in the wheelchair. He was continually blocking my way at the different booths or cutting me off as I wandered from vendor to vendor.

I don't know if he was doing it on purpose or not, but I finally snapped and yelled at him as I spun him around to face me. I want to say the people around me broke out in applause, but that would probably be revisionist thinking.

Dr. Sutter was horrified, of course, and his taciturn comportment on the flight back to Austin signaled to me that I had better get a new mentor.

That story is for a future entry.