Cactus Jack called me last week. “Pick you up in five minutes,” he said.
“Five minutes! Where we going Jack?” I asked.
“Microsoft’s havin a dog and pony show for PC sellers at Lake San Marcos Resort.”
Cactus Jack owns Rainbow Computer Emporium in the back country south of Temecula. He looks and talks a lot like “Yosemite Sam” but with dirty white hair and a tobacco stained mustache. Jack treats his customers with utter disdain and he’s meaner than cat crap. Nome can’t stand him but I kind of admire the purity of his total lack of any redeeming qualities. Jack is a man’s man.
“I never go to those Microsoft seminars,” I said “they’re boring PR drivel. I’m surprised you go.”
“Hello,! there’s free food and booze and all them yahoovers from Geek Squad, Fry’s and them other computer stores will be there. Just gittin to laugh at them bozos is worth the trouble of goin all by itself.”
I looked at my watch. It was nine thirty. Jack usually doesn’t get drunk until early afternoon. It seemed safe.
“Hold on and I’ll see if Nome will let me go”. I turned to ask her but she was already waving at me “I heard, just go” she said “Wait for Jack in the parking lot, I don’t want that stinky man coming into the store.”
The presentation had already started when we arrived. Jack interrupted the speaker and tried to get him to open the bar. He told Jack that the bar opened after the presentation not before and asked him to please find a seat. Jack grumbled and the kids from Geek Squad giggled.
The speaker was explaining that Vista was an excellent operating system that had been sabotaged by a devilishly clever misinformation campaign led by Apple and some other anarchists. He asked the group if anyone had a suggestion as to how Microsoft might improve Vista. Jack raised his hand.
“Yer first mistake is naming it Vista,” he drawled.
“Why is that?” asked the Microsoft speaker.
“Because Vista ain’t a half bad place to live.” Jack hesitated for effect. “You shoulda named it Tijuana.”
The crowd went wild. It took several minutes to restore order.
The Microsoft speaker composed himself and continued “ Vista is a thing of the past anyway. The new age will dawn on October 22nd when we introduce Windows 7”.
At that point a huge roar went up from the Fry’s sales team. “Wonderful” said the speaker excitedly, “That is exactly the kind of reception we’ve been looking for”
It turned out that the Fry’s sales team had been playing team "Angry Birds" on their iPhones. The outburst was in celebration of a two-point victory over Team Geek Squad.
At this point The Microsoft rep decided to open the bar. I had a sandwich and a couple of drinks. By then the Fry’s sales guys were arguing among themselves over whether or not they could sell extended warranties on bottled water and the Geek Squad had started a drinking game that involved ping-pong balls and plastic cups.
Jack bribed the bartender into giving him a full bottle of bourbon and sat quietly enjoying the spectacle between swigs.
I decided to walk back to the store.