Cratchit Hall of Fame: Call for nominees

Time to offer up a few kind words to the techies and technologies that made our lives a little better this year

As the holidays approach, it's time for a tradition here at the Gripe Line: The Bob Cratchit Hall of Fame.

As I'm sure many of you know, Bob Cratchit was the underpaid and underappreciated clerk who worked for Ebenezer Scrooge -- the infamous "money counter" and banker who, while wealthy, was penurious and cruel to the point of being inhuman in Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol."

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In our current economy, Dickens' characters seem that much more relevant than they did when I started this tradition a couple of years ago. I'm sure that if you replace "clerk" with "IT professional" you can find even more parallels.

Despite Bob Cratchit's low pay, nonexistent benefits, and painfully long hours, he still managed to be a better person than his heartless employer by finding a few kind words for everyone -- even Scrooge -- at Christmas.

In an attempt to not turn black-hearted like Scrooge, I encourage everyone to think back over the year (or years, if necessary) to find an event, interaction, service, person, or product that you can find a few kind words for. Cratchit's toast to Scrooge was weak, "I'll give you Mr. Scrooge, the founder of the feast!" His family protests, but it was a kind word. And that's all it needs to be.

Before I even sent out the call for nominees, Randy offered up an inadvertant toast. He had to reach back to a company, product, and operating system that many of you may have forgotten altogether to do it. The story doesn't have a happy ending, but it's a kind word, so it's a start: "Back in the DOS days," he says, "WordPerfect had awesome support. It was already a great product and had a magazine that offered pointers and how-tos for using the product."

Like all good things, though, it came to an end. "WordPerfect was bought by Novell and the magazine disappeared -- and along with it the support," says Randy. "Pretty soon, the support was awful and, well, the product died. It was a shame." See how he managed to slip a kind word in there? That's all we need.

How about you? Can you think of of a kind word for your employer, a service, a product, or even an individual to submit to the Bob Cratchit Hall of Fame?

Catch up on last year's Cratchit Hall of Famers:

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This story, "Cratchit Hall of Fame: Call for nominees," was originally published at Read more of Christina Tynan-Wood's Gripe Line blog at

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