An actor friend abandoning New York for L.A. offered me his job. I was to deliver bicycle-wheel sized reels of computer tape from one end of Wall Street to the other. These tapes contained that day’s stock market trades or something equally toxic. In 1976, computers were the size of Montana. They generated so much heat they had to be kept in refrigerated rooms behind glass walls and were lovingly tended by white-coated computer technicians. We Untermensch, relegated to the outer-office, pressed our faces against the glass and stared at the large whirling wheels feeling we’d fallen into a James Bond movie and sure we were staring at America’s affluent, computerized future. We shared the legend of the Wall Street office boy who years before had read an investment memo he was delivering which advised – “BUY SHARES OF CONTROL DATA.” He did and made millions by “getting into” computers early.
I was to make one tape-reel delivery a day, five days a week. Just one delivery. Just one problem. That delivery happened in the middle of the night. And, it happened at a different time in the middle of every night. And, with no mobile phone, I had to be chained to my home phone waiting for “the call” all night long.