Mrs. Lappen and Software Licensing

I just made my first corporate purchase.

Nearly $25K for a software upgrade and a few new user licenses. That’s just an upgrade a few new users. For US$25,000. If we were in my 7th grade math class, Mrs. Lappen would write this on the board:

≤25,000=[X+software upgrade+(8*[additional user licenses])]

“Mr. William(s),” she would say, her bottom lip forcing the top into a frown. “Find for X.”

I would sigh audibly and drag my feet trudging to the board. She’d hand me the piece of chalk and the dust would cake in the moisture on my palm, revealing more clearly the swirls of the skin of my hand.

I’d breath heavily with concentration; concurrently constraining to conceal my conspicuous consternation. My eyes would bound about, urgently foraging the yellow script on green wash for any sign of a clue. The dull scrape of the slate eroding the fragile stick would fill the otherwise silent the room. Until.

A boy in a Cypress Hill shirt in the corner would cough.
A girl in a pink sweater and a pony tail would pass a note folded in an utterly incomprehensible manner.
Someone would catch the sun on their watch face and make the reflected light dance on the back of my head.
Those who happened to notice would chortle.

Then, with the clink of the chalkstick on the brushed aluminum ledge and the sweeping of my palms against one another, I’d turn around. I’d look to Mrs. Lappen with an inquisitive air, hoping for praise rather than ridicule.

“Correct, Sir,” she would state firmly as she shook her head somewhat involuntarily. She would stare me down as she fiddled with the glasses dangling from her neck via a red-beaded rope. She would deliberately inhale as if she were Jack Palance. “X—haaaa—does indeed—snifffffff—equal—haaa—as you so eloquent put it—sniff—’jack shit.’ Even so, I will see you in detention. Now who wants to dust the erasers?”

I should have learned then, as I know now, that most software licensing software is a rip off.

Whatever the case, next week, I’ve got an intangible new product which I’ve gotta put to good use.

Wish me luck.


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