Do me a favor will you, friend? Get in my skin for a moment. A few moments, really. Specifically, last week in Las Vegas.
Imagine that you’re speaking at Photoshop World, the biggest gathering of Photoshop users on the planet. You’re responsible for a total of four sessions, amounting to a total of seven hours in front of several hundred attendees at a time. Meanwhile, you and your online sidekick, Colleen, have (as if on crack) decided to pack in a micro-event called Martini Hour Live, replete with 15 renowned guests and 200 attendees. Plus, at the last possible minute, when everything seemed safely at rest, you’re called upon to close the event with a 5-minute demo in front of 3,000 people. And instead of doing something safe, you elect to try out a performance piece—the equivalent of a live dekePod, only entirely unscripted.
And then, just for larfs, picture your laptop covered in beer.
All of which happened. The net result is an argument in favor of temperance. But not in the way you might think.
Amazingly, everything at Photoshop World went without a hitch. My sessions were greeted by whoops of glee. (I’m sure there were a few that didn’t cotton to my approach—there usually are—but they didn’t boo so the whoopsters won.) The live recordings of Martini Hour started a bit stiff. But we hit our stride pretty early (I credit guest RC Concepcion for breaking the ice; that guy is a natural), and from that point on it was one excellent conversation after another. Everyone was awesome, but Scott Kelby and Jay Maisel were in particularly fine form.
The closing piece was pure madness. I learned I was to go on just a bit more than an hour before the Wrap-Up began. I had an idea rattling around in my head, based on a video called “Just Click on It” from my upcoming lynda.com series Photoshop CS4 Smart Objects. I imagined turning the video into a 5-minute performance piece involving three characters: You (a graphic designer), Big Boss (your boss), and Bob (Big Boss’ lackey). It was risky, so I tried it out on Colleen, who just happened to be sipping a celebratory we-lived-through-the-week cocktail with me. As is so typical of her, she was nothing but supportive and helped me refine.
I had to follow two inspiring photographic montages, one from Moose Peterson and the other from Joe McNally, both of which would make any sturdy citizen feel like a no-talent hack. So when I got up, I took a deep breath and thought, “Don’t suck.” Frankly, it could’ve used a real rehearsal. But it got big guffaws at the right moments, a generous applause at the end. And when I sat down, there was a txt from C saying, “You rocked it. Seriously.” What more could I ask?
So where’s the temperance lesson? And why is there beer on my circuitboard?
Yesterday, with Photoshop World forever done and safely tucked away, I slowly and arduously made my way through the labyrinthine innards of the unwelcoming McCarran airport. (That Carrot Top trying to get through security with that big bag—what a hoot!) In time, I sat down at the California Pizza Kitchen in Concourse D for Dull. I ordered a Sam Adams and a Cobb salad. Naturally, I had my MacBook Pro out, catching up on a month of ignored emails. About five minutes after the server brought me my beer—in a tall pint-sized glass, mind you—before I had managed to so much as sip it, a woman from a neighboring table got up and swung her purse into it, knocking it directly onto my laptop and iPhone. She swung so dexterously and with such power that she utterly upended the beer, completely draining the glass.
Realizing what she had done, she stopped in her tracks and said, “Oh shit.” (“Oh, shit”? Lady stole my line!) Miraculously, the beer missed most of my keyboard but it was dripping out of the forward screen release and absolutely pooling below the battery compartment. A helpful woman from another table advised me to take the laptop to a bathroom hand drier, but my experience with these things is that it’s best to turn the computer the hell off (always job #1) and then sop up as much as possible while the sugars are still liquid.
The staff was awesome. As one cleaned off my iPhone—it still smells of beer, but it works—another armed me with paper towels. I moved to another table, popped the battery, and cleaned up what I could. A water-damp towel helped to keep things moving.
When I got home, I took the thing apart, which involves removing 23 screws to lift one piece of aluminum. (I don’t have a Torx wrench, but an ultra-tiny flathead screwdriver worked fine.) The only real victim was the trackpad and the thumb button, which stuck like crazy. But in time I got them working and now everything seems to be working fine. So fine that I’m using that very same MacBook Pro to craft this overly long blog post.
So what’s the moral? One is that gin is good and beer is bad, as illustrated in the above images. (See how the little Bombay Sapphire bottles coexist peacefully with the inside of my MacBook?) But the bigger moral is this: When you have your computer open in a public place, be on the defensive and keep your drink well away from it. And when accidents happen, be really super stinking lucky.
Like I was. All last week, in Las Vegas.