The World According to Nick
My take on Software, Technology, Politics, and anything else I feel like talking about.
Thursday, January 05, 2006

My Party Persona 

Jane Galt recently made the following comment about conversations by certain professionals at parties:

I like drinking with economists, because they're funny. When I go drinking with, say, physicists, I usually end up mired in rants about string theory, which is tough on me because it makes my already limited pool of brains start rattling around in my otherwise empty skull. When I go drinking with economists, on the other hand, they start ranting about how the rest of the world treats them. The most common version of the complaint was summed up by one economist of my acquaintance who said: "You know, I never offer opinions on gall bladder surgery, chemical synthesis, or drawing up a will, but doctors, chemists, and lawyers - and everyone else - all think they know how to do my job better than I do."

My problem, as someone in the computer industry, was never having people telling me how to do my job... but rather having people instantly asking me to do my job. A typical conversation might go like:

Person: So Nick... what do you do anyway?
Me: I'm a computer engineer.
Person: Really?! You know... my computer keeps doing this really strange thing...

Mine is not the only profession that has this problem. I've heard of doctors being asked to look at rashes at a party... or someone I know who is a mechanic who has been asked to diagnose a car problem only from a drunk man's impression of the noise his engine was making. That's why I have my party persona.... which I use when I'm at a gathering of people who I mostly don't know. I thought it might be fun to share with you some random facts about my other self:
  • I'm an out of work actor. You probably haven't seen me in anything since I do mostly "regional work".
  • When I'm not acting, I'm a waiter at a downtown restaurant... or sometimes a place out near Waukesha... wherever I figure the majority of people at the party wouldn't go.
  • Somehow over time I also developed a knowledge of fine wines. I have no idea why I thought this was cool.
  • Oh yeah... I have a trust fund. So why do I wait tables? It helps keep me "grounded", and closer to the "common man". Apparently that's important to actors.
I know... I know. It seems strange... maybe even wrong somehow... but nobody ever asks an out of work actor how to fix their computer at a party.

Comments:

I get the same thing. When people find out I work in the media, all they ever ask about is stories going on in the news. the last thing I want to talk about it news when i'm not at work. well, except for when i'm blogging.

  Posted at January 05, 2006 11:10 PM by Blogger *Belle*  
No kidding... the last thing I want to do at a party is talk shop... unless I'm absolutely desperate for conversation material.

  Posted at January 06, 2006 8:15 AM by Blogger Nick  
I've found that "Theoretical Physicist" works well too.

I know just enough about particle physics and string theory, that after a few minutes, nobody wants to ask you questions anymore.

Of course, that's not so good for picking up chicks either.

  Posted at January 08, 2006 3:28 AM by Blogger Kuflax  
You all need to get into sales. You start talking and people either hang up on you or walk out of the room. :-)

  Posted at January 08, 2006 9:24 PM by Blogger Jib  
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Name: Nick
Home: Wauwatosa, WI, United States

I'm a Software Consultant in the Milwaukee area. Among various geeky pursuits, I'm also an amateur triathlete, and enjoy rock climbing. I also like to think I'm a political pundit.


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