I used to work a lot more in the tech industry. That was a thing.
When you learned a new programming language, that was your first “program,” to do something to print out “Hello World.” I’ve since heard people–a rather younger generation, mostly, put this down.
“Say something more interesting.”
“I can *see* how to do that, I want to do something exciting.”
I admit to anger issues, so naturally, I want to smack them.
First of all, because there is a lot of value –no: a lot of grace— in a strong simple foundation. Just try to take that on face value from someone that’s spent a lot of time balancing a lot of spinning plates while balancing on one toe on top of a mountain of junk which, it turns out, has had everything underneath it eaten out, leaving a big gaping hole. A strong simple foundation is to be desired.
But also, there’s the words. They are beautiful to me. And powerful.
A computer screen is a double edged sword. I wonder if K&R realized that. It can connect you to the World, or completely cut you off from it. Here is my first, by the way. I hope it comes out all right and doesn’t “break” this post:
print “Hello World!\n“;
I don’t get to do that stuff for a living much any more, but I do play when I have time (which isn’t much these days), so I made myself a little android app. I press the app icon on my phone and a black screen comes up that says, right there in the middle in bright, white letters, “Hello World.”
Okay, here’s the important part. After I made that app, I didn’t take it off my phone right away like I expected. Instead, I found myself opening it up again and again throughout the day and staring at it. Why? I decided at first that it was because I was kind of proud of myself. Look, Ma! I learned a new trick! And it worked! (I mean, it actually even worked the first time!) But this excuse wore thin fairly fast. I would stare at those words and think.
What is this “World” today? Am I feeling the ground beneath my feet and the hearing the wind rushing through those scrubby parking lot trees and thinking I can almost feel some person standing on the other side of this ground, in China, listening to the wind in their scrubby trees too. Or is it just that stack of papers on my desk I have to get through and my co-workers and clients, another cup of coffee, and don’t forget to get cat food on the way to pick up the baby from preschool? Is it immediate? Is it far away? Can I feel it at all?
Which brings us to the “Hello,” part: something which implies some kind of engagement. Is it a good thing to be thinking about that guy in China today? Am I practicing my mindfulness and staying calm? Am I even aware of my feet? If the world is my co-workers, and clients, and family today–Am I “saying Hello” like I should be? Am I keeping track of my time (or missing some?), and thoughtfully speaking and interacting with and helping them (did I remember to have the baby brush her teeth?). Do I need to say Hello to myself today? (Can you say disassociate? Or, chronic fatigue?)
So. Hello World.
If you wanted to find out more about me and this blog, from this first post…well, it’s not here: It’s in the “About” section, which you will find a link to up there at the top. It may be more interesting.