Time for my last article. I could probably write more, yet there are times for everything and after this, my attention will be focused on the most comfortable position for my bed, the schedule for pain killers, and the people around me.
Yesterday I had twelve visitors, including my lovely young children. You’d think it’s exhausting, yet the non-stop flow of friends and family was like being in a luxurious hot bath with an infinite supply of fresh water.
I was a disconnected and lonely young man. Somewhat autistic, perhaps. I thought only of work, swimming, my pet cats. The notion that people could enjoy my company was alien to me. At least my work, I felt, had value. We wrote code generators in Cobol. I wrote an editor that was immensely popular in our company because it worked elegantly, and worked on every platform we ran on. I taught myself C and 8086 assembler and wrote shareware tools.
Over time I learned that if you chat with a stranger, in the course of any kind of interaction (like buying a hot dog, or groceries) they’ll chat back with a beam of pleasure. Slowly, like a creeping addiction to coffee, this became my drug of choice.
In time it became the basis, and then the goal of my work: to go to strange places and meet new people. I love the conferences because you don’t need an excuse. Everyone there wants, and expects, to talk. I rarely talk about technical issues. Read the code.
And so I’m proud of my real work, which has been for decades, to talk with people, listen and exchange knowledge, and then synthesize this and provide it on for others. I’ll take whatever credit people want to give me for being creative, brilliant, etc. Yet the models and theories I’ve shaped and documented are consistently drawn from real-life experience with other people.
Thank you, my friends, for that. When I say “I love you” it’s not some gesture. You literally kept me fed, professionally and intellectually.
So I wanted to document one last model, which is how to die, given some upfront knowledge and time. I’m not going to write an RFC this time. 🙂