Wednesday, November 21, 2007


Oh yeah, it's funny now. In fact I'm grinning about it while typing this out. It's interesting how just a little bit of time will make things all better. Because I feel fine now. But man-oh-man, when it happened I guarantee there were flames shooting out of my eyes, ears, and even my butt.

And as much as I think it's stupid, that waiting period before buying a handgun does make some sense. Although the cooling off period might not work. They might just continue to stew over whatever events made them go homicidal in the first place. Next thing you know, instead of being all cooled off, they're like Bruce Willis in the pawn shop in Pulp Fiction trying to choose how he's going to get even with Zed: Going from one weapon to another, each one getting steadily larger and more ridiculously dangerous. Wait, I'm getting off topic.

So part of being in the academic medical profession is that you're expected to contribute to the advancement of medicine. And by contribute, they want you to write a research paper every so often and get it published. Of course, before it gets published, they have teams of older, more experienced, and much smarter surgeons on a panel that read your feeble attempt at a paper, write hurtful editorial comments that destroy your ego a bit, and make you do several re-writes before publishing the darn thing.

Needless to say, writing a paper is a bit stressful. And time consuming. Unfortunately, unlike when I was in grade school and a "research paper" meant a quick trip to the library and copying something out of an encyclopedia, (with the advent of the internet, Google, and wikipedia, I can't ever imagine a kid doing that nowadays), research at my level actually involves research.

Which for a clinical physician means pouring over piles and piles of patient charts and gathering endless amounts of mind numbing data that will drive even an actuary to suicide.

So I've been doing this research thing for the past 4 months. And with the deadline looming just weeks away, it has been a stressful pain in the butt. And yesterday, after going through about a million re-writes, I was coming real close to finally finishing my paper.

I've been sitting at my desk for hours and I needed to take a short break, so I clicked on the save button. But then Microsoft Word spat out a curious statement about how it couldn't do that. This I didn't particularly understand because it happily saved my file not just a mere 10 minutes ago. As I clicked the "OK" box to acknowledge its first denial, it then spat out another statement about how it needed to close.

My heart started to sink into my stomach, but knowing that I had just saved the file recently gave me some reassurance that even if Word crashes, I have my paper saved. As I clicked on the "OK" button, I had that split second of omnipotent clarity realizing that I should have never done that. Because the computer then mutinied against me.

I could not believe my eyes, but before me was a text box spat out by Word saying that not only could my file not be saved, it was going to delete it.

Me: Oh no... wait, wha... Oh no! AAAHH! &#%@!!!

And sure enough, it did.

Me: What the... [furious mouse clicking] What the... [furious keyboard pounding] Oh no! Oh no! Oh no no No!

At this point I realized it was truly gone. The stupid program had actually deleted my file. I have never in my life seen this happen or have even heard of it happening before. The file I've been saving to for the past several hours was now nowhere to be found. Sure I had backup copies someplace, but everything backed up was from the day before. I had been at that desk for hours. Frickin hours! There was no way I could remember all the infinitesimal changes I've made all day. Hell, I could hardly remember what changes I made to the paper just 15 minutes ago!

I took a deep breath, calmed myself down, and searched through my computer. Nope. My file was nowhere to be found. Not even in the temporary file folder. Not even in the recycle bin. That piece of shit Word had actually deleted my paper.

Me: You... YOU!!!  YOU!!!

[I struggled for a way to properly express myself, but found none]

Me: Gaaah!!!

Expletives, curse words, and all things evil and dirty spewed forth from my mouth as I rampaged through the house, stomping and fists a-waving. I howled with the fury of all those that had been wronged before me. I cursed Dell. I cursed Word. I cursed Microsoft, Bill Gates, and his mother.

I calmed down a bit, grabbed an orange from the refrigerator, and went back to the computer. After several minutes of frantic mouse clicking and keyboard clacking, I was back to hollerin', ragin', and stomping around the house again.

Meanwhile, Nathalie sat quietly on the couch observing, letting this storm run its course.

Which it did.

I eventually sat down at my desk, and glumly and defeatedly ate my orange.

And after a few sullen sighs, I opened up my backup copy from the previous day and started editing my paper all over again, trying real hard to remember the changes I had made that day.

And today, I'm probably back to where I was before my computer erased my file and getting closer to completing my paper. So for that I'm thankful.
And I'm thankful to have a wife that's understanding and knows how to deal with a husband that temporarily regressed to 3-year old.

And thinking back to the tirade I went on, I can only grin thinking how ridiculous I must have looked. Oh well, "Live the day."

Happy Thanksgiving!