In my past life before my past life, I worked at a place called FCP Technologies and we were, in the plainest of terms, the help desk to help desks. When something went wrong with your shit, you called your help desk. When the problem extended beyond their technical expertise, they would call us. Presuming of course, they bought this ridiculously expensive support contract beforehand. But you'd be connected with the software or hardware engineer best suited for your particular problem and with very -- VERY -- few exceptions, the buck stopped with us. Those few exceptions of course would usually bring us to the vendors themselves -- Microsoft, Novell, Compaq/HP, and of course my beloved Banyan.
But behind the scenes -- at least in regards to hardware issues -- was a humble, and I suppose a little socially awkward, man named Andrew. He ran our parts warehouse. Well, not warehouse per se, more like a parts room, but the net effect was the same. If your customer had an issues that needed hardware, your case wasn't going to get fixed without Andrew's help. Need a replacement hard drive? Go see Andrew. Need ten hard drives? Go see Andrew. Need help identifying what part number replaced this part number? Need parts delivered anywhere in the fucking country, in under four fucking hours, day or night? Go see Andrew. Need an array of parts because you're not sure what the fuck is wrong but you know it's hardware? Go. See. Andrew.
And when you did go see Andrew, he was always kind of surprised that one of us wandered back to see him. It was unlike the time when me, a lowly shitheel of an E3 with my face buried in an old Zenith Z-100 and out of the corner of my eye I saw two patent leather shoes walk into the room. "Be with you in just a second," I said, not bothering to look up from the fucking MFM connector I was trying to grab onto. And when I did look up, I could not take my eyes off of the three fucking stars on Lieutenant General Gordon E. Fornell's shoulder boards. I was just kind of humbled, and shy, and defenseless, and that's the way Andrew always looked when we, the high and fucking mighty engineers, went back to see him looking for assistance with a part.
But looking back, I see now that Andrew was one of the most under appreciated members of our team. See, we were *engineers*. We were bad asses. We dealt directly with the customer. We got servers back up and running. We fixed email for entire corporations. We solved problems that brought enterprise level networks to their knees. And while we could accomplish all of these things by ourselves in a software level event, if hardware came into the mix none of that shit would happen without Andrew's help. But regardless of which way that axe fell, we the glorious engineers, got all of the fame and glory. Andrew was just the slightly odd guy behind the scenes, outside of the limelight, trapped in his little office amongst the 500 different boxes.
And while no one of our team were ever rude to Andrew, or treated him with any disrespect, I do think all of us pitied him to some degree. The fact of the matter was, we were higher on the food chain and one might argue Andrew existed solely to serve us. So while we were the people out there reaping the benefits of our work, and despite our complete and utter reliance upon his support, we were somehow pompous enough to think less of him because he wasn't one of us. We got recognition during quarterly awards, and big fat bonuses, and "take a few days off," while Andrew got, "oh hey, thank man."
It's pretty absurd now that I look back at it, and intentional or not, I regret any grand notions of superiority. So this morning I tip my hat to you, Andrew. Some well deserved respect and admiration. Late, but believe me, no less deserved. Nothing we accomplished could happen without your hustle and dedication behind the scenes. I see that now, and I'm embarrassed I didn't see it sooner.
Also, I've decided to start writing more. Perhaps updating a little less often, but more honest and raw. I mean I'll still ask you for your help with telling me what a tattoo reads, but otherwise getting back to my roots, so to speak. I hope that's ok with you. And maybe one of these days I'll get up the courage to tell you about Michael Lerzak.
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