death

It’s been far too educational, the last two months. Both my parents died. My father a few weeks ago and my mother last night. A new born child runs a superhighway of connections into your noodle. Death teases them back out again.

When the Challenger exploded I worked for a firm in Cambridge that had written some of the key software. Most of the company was seated in a large atrium watching the television. The launch had been scheduled so school children around the nation could watch. When the shuttle exploded every single person who’d worked on that software could only think: “Am I responsible.”

That was a very delightful place to work. Those were the days when almost nobody studied to become a programmer. Everybody there had come to the trade, called to it from another profession. We tended to hire people who had an interesting background, never because they had a lot of credentials in computer science. We had a rule, no roller skating in the atrium. The building we were in was a lousy old warehouse with a zigzag roof that let in light from large windows. The building had been amusingly remodeled into office space.
That company, and so many others, are now long gone. The people scattered. I was thinking about my responsibility in all that the other day – gazing down from a window in the nursing home on a hill over that zigzag roof. My mother rested her hand on the hot radiator. The air outside was quite cold, it was killing the African violet on the sill.

I see that movable type decided to clear out my blog’s homepage. February has arrived. I guess I should post something.

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