Monday, May 16, 2005

With friends like us who needs enemies??

Another of my mates back in Melbourne is Robin. He's had a passing mention before. Back in the early 90's Heino and I used to visit more frequently than we have of late. Robin's a bit of a pack-rat. He used to work for Hewlett Packard and he'd collect just about everything they ever threw out. I used to do much the same thing when I worked for them back in the 80's though I never got lucky enough to collect an oscilloscope out of the rubbish bin.

Robin also collects just about anything else of a technical nature you might care to name. Obsolete technical manuals, junk videos, ancient software, old games, you name it he probably has it somewhere. I wouldn't be a bit surprised if he still has the National Semiconductor SC/MP manual I gave him in 1978. Indeed he has so much of this stuff that two rooms of his house are lined floor to ceiling with bookshelves and what doesn't fit on the shelves is in untidy piles upon the floor.

So after a while it became a sort of a game between Robin on one side and Heino and myself on the other. We'd find an excuse to enter the inner sanctum and fill our pockets with anything that came to hand. At first it was easy; Robin had no idea what we were up to. A pleasant afternoon would be spent doing technical blokey things and, once we were in our respective cars and about to drive off, we'd unload what we'd lifted. Robin would invariably protest about what 'thieving bastards' we were as he gathered his precious junk back!

After a while it got boring so we came up with a new twist. One afternoon we took every single book and video tape out of the shelves and turned them upside down. For the first half hour or so Robin didn't even realise we were in there and when he discovered we were he frisked us. Not quite as sexy as it sounds! :-) Satisfied that we weren't loaded with his precious junk things returned to normal; he even disappeared into the kitchen to make more coffee. When he returned he insisted on a second frisking. Still clean! Hmmm, he wondered, what are they up to. It was about then he noticed that all his books (and I mean all of them) were upside down.

'You bastards!' he said!

Another time we arrived, the three of us (Garry the third of the terrible trio) just as Robin had to go somewhere for half an hour. By this time it was well established that we'd walk off with anything we could carry so he found himself in a quandary. He wanted us to hang around for the techo gabfest afterward but he was afraid of what we'd steal. Ah, a happy solution. Michael, his son, maybe 8 years old at the time, could watch us. Poor kid! We waited until Robin had disappeared around the corner and then proceeded, the three of us, over Michael's protests, to carry every single item out of the inner sanctum and deposit it in an ever growing heap on the back patio. When Robin returned we were relaxing in easy chairs (also carried out of the house), smoking, with our feet up on his precious junk!

'You bastards!' he said!

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