DEC, long before it morphed into "Digital," turned twenty, well, I'm not exactly sure when the event was, but I remember that I was still in my office in the Mill. I was on the second floor of building 12, over the entrance and just to the left. One day they called us all outside, everyone who was in the building. It was bright and sunny, a fine day for a group picture outside, a picture preserved somewhere in a dusty archive, no doubt, but I don't have a copy. I don't recall what else went on.
Dell turned twenty on a recent Monday. Different kind of event. Cake was served in the cafeterias of all the buildings. (During a selected hour period.) You couldn't necessarily tell from the celebrations, or lack thereof, but the two companies couldn't be more different culturally, born on different planets, not just regions.
And then there is the Spit Brook cake story, which is not really a Tale of Texas but is somehow twisted-related to the ways that corporate culture celebrates itself.
Once upon a time in DEC's Spit Brook Road facility, I stopped in a friend's cube to talk. On a bookshelf, he had a strange clay sculpture of a dinosaur being crushed by a giant brain. Great symbolism. He had made this piece himself in some class. Completely plausible. He has a wonderfully warped sense of humor. In any case, the sculpture was sitting atop a Tupperware container that contained a slice of cake. Is this cake old? I assume that it is from the five-year anniversary of the building, which was like a year ago. They had a huge cake in the shape of the building. Ooh, ick, it's a biology experiment! If this cake is a year old, then it should be moldy, but it's not. What a comment on the nutritious ingredients used, yum, yum, if no self-respecting mold will eat it after a year! Ha, fooled me. No, no, no, he corrects me. The cake was from the *first* anniversary of the building, which was *five* years ago. Five years? And still no mold? How is that possible? And what is that cake doing to those of us who ate it?
Reminds one of the Twinkie-on-the-windowsill story, which is possibly an urban legend. A college junior faculty person in Chicago or Michigan or some similar place had an office in an old stone building with big double-hung windows that actually opened. He would feed the birds on the windowsill, give them half of his Twinkie from the vending machine. Well, one day, he puts out the Twinkie and then closes the window because it gets cold. The window remains closed all winter. On the first warm day in the spring, he opens the window to find the Twinkie still there, untouched by either bird or bug. Microbe-free for five months. The birds, at least, might have the excuse of migrating south for the winter. But the bugs?