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One of my best friends when I worked at a tech company in Illinois was a guy we'll call D. He was a "nerd's nerd": straightforward, down-to-earth, kind-hearted, and knew his technology inside and out.

D was a bit of a stickler for keeping his technology clean. He never ate while sitting at his desk, washed his hands before sitting down at this keyboard, and kept his desk neat and clean.

A really old cathode ray tube monitor

Periodically, someone would come into his cubicle to talk with him about a project, and they would invariably touch his monitor (the old, shiny, glass tube CRT type) when pointing at things during the discussion.

He kept a bottle of Windex and a roll of paper towels in his overhead cabinet, and as soon as they walked away, he'd wipe off any offending fingerprints and oils. I can still hear it today, that satisfying little "squeak squeak" of Windex from three cubicles over.

But the next time he asked me to come to his cubicle for a second to review something, I hatched an evil plan. As he was showing me an Excel spreadsheet with tiny little fonts, I leaned in (a bit too) close to his screen to get a better look. I could feel him tensing up behind me, ready to grab his Windex.

And then I did it.

I leaned all the way in so that my nose was touching his screen, and then with one deft swipe, I squeeeeeeeaked my nose in a 6-inch long arc across the screen, leaving behind an Exxon Mobil-worthy oil streak of skin oil.

If I'm not mistaken, he died a little inside that day. But he rallied, Windexed, and we're still friends to this day.


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