Sunday, June 19, 2011

Happy Father's Day

Happy Father's Day!
Don't worry, I'm not going to pontificate and blow hard about anything regarding the larval parasite stealing a third of my wife's nutrients.

I have a father.

There's a benefit to having a gigantic father - at no point did I ever think "I'm gonna just kick his ass".
My father is 6' 4". He fills doorways, and has ridiculous reach. He play fought one time against my brother and I. We never got nearer than his kneecap.
Kicking his ass was unthinkable.
Not that he didn't deserve it.
He told me Eddie Murphy died in a car accident one evening when I was in high school. No context on why, just came home and said, "Hey Eddie Murphy died in a car crash."
This didn't humiliate me the next day, but weeks later when someone mentioned him and I said, "isn't he dead?" like some sort of an idiot.
The internet would have been nice growing up with my father.
I would have verified that there wasn't an at-large axe murderer in the Rocky Mountains who liked to kill Boy Scouts. (an elaborate ploy to save money on boy scout uniforms, I suspect)
I wouldn't have thought lobster tastes terrible to kids. He told this whopper when I was 6 years old. Actually brilliant, in hindsight. Better than Santa. Will probably use on my daughter.

The most important lesson he taught me, however, was about parenting. It's 1988 - he is troubleshooting the computer for me. It was a 286 (maybe an 8088) with a 4 color monitor. It's not working. My dad, who works on computers all day, is now working on one for his oldest son. I'm watching, rapt. I love computers, and have since we got one when I was about 8. It's giving him real problems. He frowns, and looks at me grimly and says, "never do this," and raps the computer with his finger. It starts working again immediately.
For the next six months, whenever I ran into trouble with the computer, I would rap it right on the hard drive. Sometimes multiple times.
It died, of course. The initial symptom he was having trouble with was probably the first sign that the drive was going to fail. But maybe not. The technician said it looked like someone had been beating on it when it was trying to write data. I denied any involvement and fingered my brother Dan.

I learned two important lessons that day. The first was you shouldn't hit computers or they'll die horrible deaths.
The second lesson was that "don't ever do this" will never ever work if you then demonstrate something that fixes an apparent problem.

Happy Father's Day, Dad.
I owe you a new 300 megabyte hard drive.

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