Part 9 – Cleveland Clinic

Posted by dean balog on Feb 3, 2010 in Uncategorized |

I have worked at Cleveland Clinic since December 10, 1979. Jimmy Carter was still president, at least for a little while. I’ve been there over half my life now. Cleveland Clinic has been the backdrop for so many things.

The easiest way to handle this is to break things up by the jobs I had. I’ve worked with computers the whole time, but exactly what I did changed. Rather like how the computer field itself has changed. Rather like how Cleveland Clinic has changed. Rather like the exchange rate between the dollar and the yen has changed.

So, for the first five and a half years I was what we call a mainframe computer operator. This was back in days, boys and girls, before the PC or the Mac. Before cell phones and iPods. Before the X-Box. Yes, they were the dark times. We weren’t still listening to 8 tracks, but I did know people who hadn’t gotten rid of them yet.

I worked third shift, the graveyard shift, 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. I had Wednesday and Thursday off. I took the Rapid Transit (i.e. train) downtown and caught the 6 Bus to East 90th every night. and took it back in the morning. I never once had a problem riding that bus at 10 – 10:30 at night. Funny how well you can fit in with long hair, faded, ratty jeans and a beat up field jacket.

However there was that one bright, sunny, crisp Sunday morning when this fairly attractive, scantily dressed woman in a see-through raincoat asked me if I needed a date.

Mary and I got married while I worked that shift. She got pregnant while I worked that shift. Zachary was born while I worked that shift.

We also discovered Zach’s “left-sided hemiparesis” while I worked that shift and dealt with medical science’s lack of understanding regarding seizure control at that time.

My sister and I also had to deal her Mom’s condition at that time, as our stepfather decided divorce was an excellent option. Not one children get however. I got to spend WAY TOO MUCH TIME talking to lawyers and doctors.

I did go back to school while I worked third shift. Finally got the degree in Philosophy I’d wanted since 1972. The great thing about studying philosophy was answering that question “What kind of job can you get with a degree in philosophy?”.

“Oh, I can work on computers for Cleveland Clinic.”

I loved studying philosophy. You can’t imagine how good it felt to write papers about metaphysics while dealing with people who had to know why they only had 19 copies of their report instead of twenty. I loved explaining that time, like order, was merely a construct of the human mind to allow it to function in the chaos that is reality when they asked if something would be done on time.

During those years I firmly established myself as THE eccentric. Fortunately for me, I was also one of their best computer operators.

My days as a vampire would soon expire. Just as I was getting ready to graduate a new job came along. I would soon learn what it was like to work at a Help Desk.

1 Comment

Jim Filsinger
Mar 4, 2019 at 10:10 am

Howdy dean, hope all is well with you and family.

I’m still working in IT, though no longer on the Cleveland Clinic account.

Your writing is a gift. Enjoyed Part 9, will follow up with others.

My philosophy: It is right to share your gifts with fellow humans, well done!

Enjoy the day, peace.


 

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