Elizabeth (greyautumnrain) wrote,

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Knowing how your genes work

This happened exactly one week ago, but I'm posting about it now. I meant to post about it sooner, but this is when I got around to it.

My Dad called me at work. He wanted to know if I had Microsoft Works on my computer here. It seems that he got an address list from a friend with all his army buddies in it, but he can't open it because its in this weird Microsoft Works format. He thinks its a old format or something. I tell him to send me the file and I'll see what I can do.

I get the file, and yes, its a Microsoft Works (whatever that is) format, but of course noting on my work PC by Microsoft recognizes it at all. It appears to be some sort of database type thing. I force it to open in Notepad because I know that'll work... kinda. Well, I can see all the information in there, plus all the weird control characters that are clearly the formating. Of course any rhyme or reason to the formatting are lost on in Notepad, but oh well.

Fast forward to quite some time later when I've spent a good deal of time removing the weird characters and extracting the actual text by hand. I'm a good chunk of the way through this rather large list by the time it occurs to me that what I am doing may seem slightly boneheaded to the average person. Wouldn't a normal person just email back their Dad and tell him to ask his friend to just export the list at a text file, or something clever like that? Probably. But the thing is, I know my Dad. I understand him better than I understand anyone except maybe my Mom and Margaret. I understand him so well because our minds work the same way in many respects, thanks in part to my having half his DNA. The very last thing he wants to do is call his friend and get him to resend the file in a more reasonable format. That would feel like admitting technical incompetance, even though its nothing of the sort. He can call me about the problem, but I think I'm the only person in the world he'd willingly ask for help of this type, and I totally understand this because I'm exactly the same way. I know how he feels because I feel the same way about the same kinds of things.

I spent the time, and I extracted the text and sent it, as butchered looking as it was, to my Dad, and he was happy. I saved him from having to call his friend and ask for the list again, and as a bonus if the guy asks if he got the list OK he gets to brag about me. For a little bit a time at a seemingly stupid task it was a total win. Isn't shared DNA great?
Tags: family, life the universe and everything

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