The Tale of Techie Tom
Thomas was a technical type.
Totally. His colleagues in IT called him TT. To them, he was “Techie Tom.” But he felt sure all the Ts in his nickname were merely a teasing for him, initials given not with affection but with disdain. His colleagues didn’t really like him, TT would think each day. No one wanted him around. Except for his whiz-bang wizardry on the Internet, he was a man of little interest and lesser use to anybody. Or so TT thought.
Eating lunch this day, alone as usual and thinking typically techie things, TT picked up a magazine. One article instantly caught his attention. “The Humanity Project helps people live more happily through learning to give to others,” the story read. TT scratched his earlobe and other parts. A bit of smelly tuna was stuck to his lip when he lowered the magazine and said out loud, to himself only, “What does that mean anyway? That’s stupid! What do I have to give anyone?”
But TT kept turning the magazine pages. Because the magazine article next said, “The Humanity Project teaches us to focus our actions and thoughts on giving all we can to others each day, without expecting reward or fearing rejection. This ‘giving life’ connects our daily individual efforts to something larger than any one person: humanity. And that can help bring us each greater meaning and happiness.” Now TT was terribly troubled. In an untypically testy display of emotion, he tossed the magazine to the table and stalked angrily from the lunchroom. “‘A giving life!’” he tsked and snorted over and over, walking back to his safe, separate cubicle.
On the way, TT passed two techie colleagues talking about music or something. He never listened to anyone’s untechie chatter and heard not two words. So he did not overhear one colleague telling the other that they’d never find a drummer for their weekend jazz trio. Of course, TT had played the drums all through high school. Still had a drum set hidden in his closet. “‘A giving life!’” TT snorted again as he walked past.
TT still tsked and snuffled as he passed Theresa’s cubicle, who looked up from her techie tinkering long enough to sigh to herself, “TT’s such a cute guy! Too bad he doesn’t like anyone around here.” Then she watched him stalk past her and she got a funny, sad, if-only look in her two eyes. Down the techie hall, TT closed his ears again and hurried by someone who was touring techie cubicles collecting donations for some good cause or other that didn’t concern him anyway. Back within his safe, separate cubicle space now, TT did not phone his mother who was ill or his older sister who missed his voice or his younger brother who had always admired him. And TT, who loved and understood baseball, did not make plans to coach a Little League team that season or support the local major leaguers by attending even one game. After all, TT had a TV. And after work, TT did not take his seriously major techie talents down the street to the struggling school with all the broken computer terminals. The list of did-nots is too long to list here, in toto. Instead, TT fired up a microwave pizza, alone at home as usual, and turned on the ballgame. “‘A giving life!’” TT tsked one last time, to himself. “I’ve got nothing at all to give. And even if I did, who would want it anyway?”