Monday, February 20, 2006

Fresh Meat

Well, my new trainee/potential lab partner/flunky started a couple of weeks ago as expected, and so far, he's pretty cool. He's almost a decade younger than me, but we share a lot of interests in music and he at least has opinions about the environment and other science topics. That's pretty cool for the typical party-guy college kid that he seems to have been. He's a self-proclaimed ex-high school raver, after all. He's bound to have done some serious partying in college.

Speaking of music, though, he asked me if I was into Goth, and when I told him I was, he seemed a little surprised, but then brought up Marilyn Manson. I could help myself. I started to laugh at him. I then none-too-gently explained that good ol' MM was to Goth what Britney Spears is to Heavy Metal. He related a trip to a MM concert and seemed like he felt a little rebellious about it all, so I didn't squash him to much, though. I'll slowly introduce him to real Goth music as time wears on.

He hasn't quite learned his own limits yet, either. But that's cool, because it lets him come up with some stuff that no one else would think of. I'm a firm believer in the old adage that "Age and guile beat youth and strength every time", but a fresh perspective from a mind that thinks its bullet-proof is often useful when you need to shake things up, and our lab could use a good tooth-rattling bang or two. If history is any indicator, the daily grind will wear him down pretty quick, and after the first couple of times he gets screwed by a coworker, I imagine he'll wise up. But until then, I intend to encourage his idea-spewing. It shows he cares about his job and some of it's bound to stick.

That'll be important to his self-esteem later on down the road when the day-to-day BS starts to get to him. And it will. It gets to everyone, but he doesn't seem to have as many defenses against it as some. He's still a little idealistic. I'd like to preserve a little of that before his soul gets crushed by the sometimes hellish nature of our work environment. (In case you haven't noticed, I'm a little pissy about work right now. More on that later.)

All in all, I doubt he'll ever be comfortable with my circle of friends' full-on geekdom, but he's a good enough guy, he's shown some early interest in our Halloween activities, and he seems nice. Heck, I could be wrong about his comfort zone where geekness is concerned. He's not freaked at some of the books I've brought through the lab lately. Now if only his fiance doesn't hate us....

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"Loyalty to petrified opinion never broke a chain or freed a human soul..." -- Mark Twain

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Fire does not wait for the sun to be hot,

Nor the wind for the moon, to be cool.

-- the Zenrin Kushu