Friday, August 14, 2009

HTML – carrots and all – brings out geek in me

My husband warned me not to write about this. He said it is the most boring subject, ever.

"Don’t do it," he cautioned. "It’s a real yawner."

"Well, people who know about html will really appreciate it," I countered.

"And how many people know hmlt?"

"You mean html?"

"Yeah, hplm, whatever!"

I am silent, and then heave a deep sigh.

"You just don’t understand," I argued. "It's just so interesting. I love working with it." I struggled to contain my enthusiasm as I settled at my desk and proceeded to write about the most "boring" subject, ever.

I must tell you that, in my well-thumbed attempts to be a part of the twenty-first century, I have found this new language to be enthralling and terrifying at the same time. It's a web language called html.

I can't say whether it's the mathematical nature of html, with its perfectly balanced equations of numbers, letters and symbols, or its complex simplicity that holds my attention.

All I know is that I love html almost as much as I love Duct Tape and jump at the chance to code.

When encountering html, it can be intimidating. At first glance, it looks like a whole lot of gibberish – line after line of rambling codes and spaces all the way down your computer monitor.

Not to mention a type of carrot that in no way resembles the carrots in your grandmother’s garden.

Add to this, forward slashes and phrases in between that look like this: href=" class=homelink.

There are nonsensical-looking table equations, such as table cellspacing="0" style="font-weight:bold;".

Html coding looks excessively difficult to understand with funny words like href, aspx, http, span, cellspacing and homelink.

I am not your typical computer geek. Everything about me spews old school. My reminiscent "days gone by" sensibilities, my propensity to document the way it used to be, my hopelessly romantic search for simple details that go unnoticed.

In fact, I resisted learning html for years. When I was offered training, I let others learn it for me. After all, if I needed something posted to the web, my co-workers could do it.

However, there came a time when I had to learn it for myself.

I am very proud to report that I have graduated to studying coding without the help of tutorials. Like a modern-day miner in search of gold in crystal-clear mountain streams, I confidently scan line after line of coding, panning patterns for nuggets to reproduce styles, correct mistakes and fix broken links.

In sharing this with you, I must admit this has been an out-of-body experience. I pinch myself, realizing that it is I – Paula "not-a-computer-geek" Damon, born shortly after the end of WWII, raised during the Cold War, cut my teeth on black and white television, saw the first moon landing live on TV in 1969 – encouraging you to enter the world of HTML. Who would have thought?

"It will never fly," my husband piped from the next room.

2009 © Copyright Paula Damon. A resident of Southeast South Dakota, Paula Damon is a national award-winning columnist. Her columns have won first-place in National Federation of Press Women, South Dakota Press Women and Iowa Press Women Communications Contests. In the 2009 South Dakota Press Women Communications Contest, Paula's columns took three first-place awards. To contact Paula, email, follow her blog at and find her on Facebook. 

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