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The archetypal cry of the frustrated nerd heard throughout the land. Technology is cool. Code is cool. Making it all dance together in a perpetual cascade of ones and zeroes can be downright intoxicating. Making it work is often trying, however. And we try. We try very hard.

We almost always run a Unix variant (or something more obscure). We bask in our ability to poke at everything that lies beneath and to change it. We try to make it better. We believe that somehow, underneath it all, computers make things better, and that the nerd solution is the better one.

Dodging issues of philosophy, technology, sociology, statistics, and mathematics, the average person who is really into this process is a huge nerd. Huge. Huger than that. We (and I do with some shame include myself in this group) like cheetos. They (for allergy reasons I exclude myself from this one) like pot. A lot. The only thing distinguishing these entities from the average stoner is the the weird motivation stemming from some instinct to go forth and poke and prod at the bits that underly everything.

That sense of wonder takes us far. But sometimes, usually when it has stopped getting dark and is starting to get light and the damn thing still screws up unpredictably every 2 minutes, a sense of anger builds. A sense that this broken bit-twiddling is so far from the flying cars and cyber-techno-utopia that is our natural birthright that something is deeply fucked up. This frustration builds, and builds, and builds, until it all explodes in a rush:

Screw UNIX, I'm just going to smoke pot and eat Cheetos for the rest of my life

This statement - and others very much like it - get uttered again and again every day in front of computers across the land. I've seen it be ha-ha. I've seen it be serious. I've seen it be both. I know people who have tried to extricate themselves from their hacker-nerd existence. I don't know anyone who was content afterwards, though. Frustration isn't strong enough to stamp out the desire to know and tweak. It is only strong enough to stamp out our will to act upon it.

So don't quit. Taking breaks or changing focus is all well and good, but quitting is definitely not. It leaves people empty. They get oddly overly-jovial and back-slappingly fake-happy. They claim not to care, and that they are happy not knowing. They claim that their life is better now. And you can almost believe them, except for the look in their eyes.

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