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GEEKS: Summer Camp

Little Billy goes to computer camp..


One of those "Dear Jen" letters...

Dear Jenny,

Ann Landers wouldn't print this. I have nowhere else to turn.
I have to get the word out.  Warn other parents. I must be
rambling on. Let me try and explain.

It's about my son, Billy. He's always been a good, normal
ten-year-old boy. Well, last spring we sat down after dinner to
select a summer camp for Billy. We sorted through the camp
brochures. There were the usual camps with swimming, canoeing,
games, singing by the campfire, you know. There were sports camps
and specialty camps for weight reduction, music, military camps
and camps that specialized in Tibetan knot tying. We tried to
talk him into Camp Winnepoopoo. It's where he went last year.
(He made an adorable picture out of painted pinto beans and
macaroni).  Billy would have none of it. Billy pulled a brochure
out of his pocket. It was for a COMPUTER CAMP! We should have put
our foot down right there, if only we had known. He left three
weeks ago. I don't know what's happened. He's changed. I can't
explain it. See for yourself.

These are some of my little Billy's letters.

Dear Mom,
The kids are dorky nerds. The food stinks. The computers are the
only good part.  We're learning how to program. Late at night is
the best time to program, so they let us stay up.
Love, Billy.

Dear Mom,
Camp is O.K. Last night we had pizza in the middle of the night.
We all get to choose what we want to drink. I drink Classic Coke.
By the way, can you make Szechuan food? I'm getting used to it
now. Gotta go, it's time for the flowchart class.
Love, Billy.
P.S. This is written on a word processor. Pretty swell, huh? It's
spell checked,  too.

Dear Mom,
Don't worry. We do regular camp stuff. We told ghost stories by the
glow of the green computer screens. It was real neat.  I don't have
much of a tan 'cause we don't go outside very often. You can't see the
computer screen in the sunlight anyway. That wimp camp I went to last
year fed us weird food too. Lay off, Mom. I'm okay, really.
Love, Billy.

Dear Mom,
I'm fine. I'm sleeping enough. I'm eating enough.  This is the best
camp ever. We scared the counselor with some phony worm code. It was
real funny.  He got mad and yelled. Frederick says it's okay. Can you
send more money?  I spent mine on a pocket protector and a box of
blank diskettes.  I've got to chip in on the phone bill.  Did you
know that you can talk to people on a computer? Give my regards to
Love, Billy.

Dear Mother,
Forget the money for the telephone. We've got a way to not pay.  Sorry
I haven't written. I've been learning a lot. I'm real good at getting
onto any computer in the country. It's really easy! I got into the
university's in less than fifteen minutes. Frederick did it in five,
he's going to show me how.  Frederick is my bunk partner. He's really
smart. He says that I shouldn't call myself Billy anymore. So, I'm not.
Signed, Bill.

Dear Mother,
How nice of you to come up on Parents Day. Why'd you get so upset?
I haven't gained that much weight. The glasses aren't real. Everybody
wears them. I was trying to fit in. Believe me, the tape on them is
cool. I thought that you'd be proud of my program. After all, I've
made some money on it. A publisher is sending a check for $30,000.
Anyway, I've paid for the next six weeks of camp. I won't be home
until late August.
Regards, Bill.

Stop treating me like a child. True... physically I am only ten
years old.  It was silly of you to try to kidnap me. Do not try
again.  Remember, I can make your life miserable (i.e. the bank,
credit bureau, and government computers). I am not kidding. O.K.?
I won't write again, and this is your only warning. The emotions of
this interpersonal communication drain me.
Sincerely, Bill.

See what I mean? It's been two weeks since I've heard from my little
boy.  What can I do, Jenny? I know that it's probably too late to
save my little Billy. But, if by printing these letters you can save
JUST ONE CHILD from a life of programming, please, I beg of you to do

Thank you very much,
Sally Gates, Concerned Parent


Robbie Honerkamp
robbie@shorty.com   http://www.shorty.com/~robbie/
  L. Lange: "What role has Windows NT played in security issues?"
  W. Schwartau: "NT and security should never be used in the same breath."