“We only have tequila… It’s like beer” or “How I became a programmer”

It takes some people years and years to decide what they want to do in life but I was lucky.  I can truly say that I knew in high school that I was going to and was meant to be a programmer.

 

It all happened kind of by accident when my family moved and I started the tenth grade at a different high school.  As my guidance counselor was going over the classes I had chosen to take that year at my previous school, she enrolled me in their equivalents at the current school.  Trigonometry, Physical Education, Chorus, American Studies, and English were all available at my grade level but as she made her way down my schedule she couldn’t seem to find a match for my last elective, Keyboarding.

 

When the guidance counselor at the new school asked me what “this Keyboarding” was, I told her that Keyboarding was a typing class where students were taught how to type on an electric typewriter keyboard.  I informed her that I took it as a “fun thing to do” during activity period and decided that I liked typing so much that I wanted to take on the full-blown class the next semester.  ”Oh,” she said, “we don’t have Keyboarding here but we do have BASIC.”  ”What’s BASIC?” I asked, to which she replied, “It’s like Keyboarding.”

 

Now every time I think of what she said, “It’s like Keyboarding,” I always think of the scene in Three Amigos when the Amigos walk into a Mexican bar and ask for a beer.  When the bartender informs the three that the bar only serves tequila, they ask what tequila is.  The bartender replies “Oh, it’s like beer.”  Makes me laugh every single time because to me the situation could not be more relevant.

 

Who knows where I would be if I realized that taking that one BASIC course would mean years of learning difficult, complex concepts and having to take Calculus and eventually Statistical Inference.  In high school I stayed as far away from math and science as I possibly could.  Why would I want to pursue a career where those two things would be blended into a something that I would use daily?  In the end I’m thankful that guidance counselor had no clue what BASIC was.  She may never realize it, but  that misunderstanding is the single reason I am where I am today and I could not be happier.

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