Your basic computer geek, a person who knows the seemingly esoteric secrets of software, hardware, networking, programming.... and may begrudgingly impart some of this knowledge to you. Often used to connote someone working tech-support. A volatile yet&intriguing individual, in other words.

Also used in reference to the theatre. Techies are the people who dress in black and work backstage. They run the lights and sound, operate special effects equipment (e.g. fog machines), and move scenery. The Stage Manager is the head techie and handles the technical aspects of the performance.

Through all of High School and most of College, I was proudly a techie.

At the end of HS, I had worked over 800 hours for various theatrical events, and probably 600 - 650 of that was lighting/construction/set hand related.

Personally, I love lighting. But I digress.

Using the word techie to describe anybody of the computer sort is an extreme misnomer, unless we're talking about Intelligent Lighting, which is a whole other story.

A techie does not sit at a desk typing, or even under a desk digging into the innards of a 486.

They ride genie's at 3 AM, swinging through the rafters with only safety chains to keep them safe, dangling off of a catwalk by one foot in a further effort to get the perfect angle on a parkam. They are an elite of a very different kind.

And we have a reason to wear all black all the time, unlike the rest of you goobers.

A theater techie is completely different being then a computer geek or hacker or whatever word you wish to use to describe knowing the inner working of computers and the net far better then anyone else. I love the smell of the theater; the musty, dust from the curtains, the faint metallic taste from the lighting intruments above, and the smell of greasepaint mixed with sweat. I imagine that most theater techies feel the way I do, why else would anyone subject themselves to the long hours and lack of steady pay? There is something about being part of the art of theatre that makes theater techies feel the joy that computer geeks must feel when a program finally works as it was envisioned.

Don't Call Me A Techie, Dammit!!

Sure I can swing from the rafters with the best of them.
And there may be a a mag lite, a leatherman, and a crescent wrench permanently attached to my side. And I may be clad in black head to toe.

But don't call me a techie!!

Beneath what you call a techie:
  • is someone who arrived 10 hours before you for load in and will stay 6 hours after you leave.
  • is a Fine Arts degree that covered everything from mechanical engineering to fashion history, human figure drawing and graphic design to carpentry and welding.
  • is someone just as capable dealing with the micro-voltages on a DMX Isolated splitter or a 480 volt three phase buck-boost transformer.
  • is the person who makes sure that 2 ton piece of truss stays up in the air where it belongs.
  • is the person who decides whether you are being lit with Alice Cooper green or something a little more flattering.
  • is the person who can tell you the difference between a himation and a chlamys and or what type of egg and dart moulding would be most appropriate to a given section of London circa 1830.

It's demeaning. I don't call you an actie now do I?
And don't get me started on roadie

The Suffering Techie

Techies are a subset of a special subset of people. They should be treated accordingly
I hope that this will be useful and timeless because though the exact meaning of "techie" has changed through the years, I feel this will be no less applicable when you have to call up "that guy that 'generic friend' knows" when your Personable Computer is upset and not talking to you.

Techies are a finicky breed and require delicate handling. There are of course more than two types, but most competent techies (I'm explicitly excluding the pompous type that think they know how computers work because they use blogger) generally fall into one of two categories. The dichotomous variable: Do they like it? If they are bit-mavens you're saved. Apply a little flattery, then you're done. Because strangely, they love being virtual plumbing gods. They like to feel important. And they are. What would we do without the Newtons of this world who actually enjoy the equivalent of computing logarithms? The only issue with this type is that your problem will be solved quickly and effectively. Leaving you with an uncontrollable urge to whack that smirk right off of their face with one of the hard metal objects that hover around them like a cloud.

When dealing with the madonna-like suffering techie, you should handle things a little differently. This sort hates dealing with computers and for whatever reason is forced to be competent at it. It's best to take a stance of abject ignorance. Look helpless, even if you're not. Usually they're nice people, so you will feel a little bit guilty taking advantage of their expertise. Ignore this feeling. The gut-wrenching self-loathing will pass.
If you would like to misuse them in the future, only use subtle flattery (e.g. Oh, that's really neat, thank you. Not: "i'm going to name my first child.. etc") and when they've fixed your mess, make sure they know how much you appreciate their time and effort and that they're just wonderful, wonderful people. Buy them flowers. This is just about the only way to get them to do pro bono work. Unless you're really, really hot.

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