Feeling under the weather today, I was working from home and the time came to get a little fresh air in the late afternoon. I had come to be a little ill due to having to build software that depends upon a certain software toolset from an unnamed large Web company. Well, at least, that was the straw on the camel's back.
So I trotted down to the local Philz's Coffee, through the sidestreets of downtown Palo Alto. The breeze was fresh and I felt better. Then came running, from a sidestreet towards me, two young men, followed by a young woman. So far, no problem, right?
A sporting football pass came sailing over my head. The young men, no shrimps, fit, and venturing no doubt from their brogrammer start-up roost on main drag University Avenue, were happy pups. The young lady gamely egged them on.
I continued on my peace-seeking way to Philz. But they followed me, inadvertently, hop-skotching down Forest Street, throwing the football deep out into the street, through traffic, even past the police station - and often over my head. I had merely wanted a peaceful walk through this usually quiet neighborhood.
Over the years, Palo Alto in its best sense has meant (to me, anyway) tolerance, contemplation, and the innovation that comes from those things. Word has it that Steve Jobs, famous late resident of Palo Alto, was even originally a fruitarian. Also I read that he once said something to the effect that to understand him one would have to understand "counterculture".
And Palo Alto, just a couple blocks from where I was walking, was the site of the first gig of the Grateful Dead, when they were the Warlocks. The City just voted down a medical marijuana measure, pegging it as more prejudiced in favor of the more dangerous drug alcohol than several states now, for whatever that's worth. My throbbing head desired some of Palo Alto's historical atmosphere, but instead was now concerned with getting smacked with a hard wad of football pigskin, or watching one of the guys get run over by a car as he played wide receiver in the middle of the rather trafficked street.
Later, after a good little code grind back at home and commiserating on the irc chat with a colleague, I suggested that we, lacking the evidently happy circumstance of the brogrammers, and perhaps, some element of their luck, ineffable quality of success, or due simply to an inability to keep (or start) funding new coding projects by borrowing from our parents, are joegrammers.