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  • John M. Campbell

A Man Who Loves His Hardware

Updated: Nov 21, 2022

Dennis Calcaterra was in charge of maintaining the hardware database on our project. We were contractually obligated to keep track of the location and status of every piece of government hardware assigned to our systems. Dennis was very conscientious about keeping the database accurate so that when a failure occurred, we knew exactly where to find replacement hardware to get the system back online with a minimum of outage time. But he had to rely on the hardware engineers to tell him if they moved a piece of equipment, so he could get testy when he found out they failed to submit the paperwork to notify him of the change. I wrote this poem as he prepared to retire.


A Man Who Loves His Hardware


When you see him at a distance walking down the corridor,

There is something out of place about this aging dinosaur.


First you notice the medallion dangling from the chain he wears,

And the open shirt exposing lots of soft and curly hairs.


He has hands both large and meaty, fairly suited to a bear.

When he walks, they countervail the Calcaterra derriere.


He’s a man who loves his country. He’s a man who loves his work.

But you dare disturb his data, he can go a bit berserk.


If you move a piece of hardware, the chastisements will be hurled.

When you give a guy a database, he thinks he owns the world!


But–


If you’re looking to repair

A broken tuner, or prepare

A crate of tools for shipment where

Another storm has had a blow,


Then the man who ships them there,

A guy we know as Calcaterra

Always gets them in the air

Aboard the first MAC flight to go.


Now–


I foresee him in Aruba in a Speedo on the beach.

He is tan and fit and healthy, a cerveza within reach.


And the tears that fill his eyes reflect this scene beyond compare—

Tears of pain when his gold chains become entangled in chest hair.


Best wishes from the TDS Team.


John M. Campbell

10 October 2005


Click here for my previous poem, To Andrea Nadal's Boyfriend

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