2006 — Day 0 - how to become an IBM retiree  

Should any of my ex-colleagues stumble across this, I'd like to extend them my best wishes. If they didn't get to see me "go" then here for the record are my notes on How to become an IBM retiree. People have often asked me of late "Dave, how does one set about becoming an IBM retiree?" Here's my simplified guide.

  1. Arrange for one of your mother's eggs to become fertilised, ideally by your father, just about in the middle of the last century. Timing is everything, of course.
  2. Pootle around until you reckon it's safe (or necessary) to join IBM.
  3. Cuddle up to someone prepared to invest a working lifetime of time, energy and effort in feeding you, clothing you, forcing you to wash occasionally, and sending you off to work virtually every day in a fresh shirt. Choose carefully: you need someone who can repair your ego after your encounters with IBM managers and the PBC system.
  4. Work conscientiously, quietly, and effectively for the next 25 years or so. Don't overdo it, and do try to enjoy it. Check from time to time that your hobbies and your cuddlesome partner remain compatible.
  5. Realise that, after a certain point, many of your chums don't seem to be coming into the Lab any more, while the new grads look even younger than your son, and you no longer know the names of their music bands. Realise also that, beyond a certain point, further work won't actually get you into a better class of Nursing Home. Finally, realise that you are now in some real danger of missing out on free Bus passes, so go and talk to your manager. Again, timing is everything. For example: don't miss out on IBM's generous pre-retirement vacation!
  6. Draft a short guide on becoming an IBM retiree. Get your partner to sanity check it.
  7. Remember the great people, the infinite kindnesses of friends and colleagues over the years, the equally infinite patience needed with the expenses system. Whatever you do, don't mention Lotus Notes. Then just retire!

In other news...

Our traditional Friday afternoon trip to the shops yielded (all in Fopp) a couple of DVDs (Milos Forman's Man on the Moon which my good buddy Brian Jones rates as one of his top 10 movies — I never did catch Andy Kaufman or, if I did, I have to admit I scarcely noticed him; and the BBC production of Iain Banks' The Crow Road — I keep trying to enjoy his "Culture" SF but honestly can't claim success) plus I found it necessary to buy the CD (either 604 by Ladytron or Ladytron by 604 [see bullet #5 above!] that had been providing background music.

Then (curses, given my impending penury) two tomes from Forbidden Planet: Ivan Brunetti's An Anthology of Graphic Fiction and Todd Hignite's In the Studio, a set of interviews with contemporary cartoonists (including Brunetti himself) but also featuring my hero and rôle model, Robert Crumb. One day I really will have to finish my own study of this interesting (and largely ignored) field.

3 November 2006