…my daughter, Katie! Yes, definitely on my bucket list. Katie and I make a great team, don’t we?
I remember telling my dad, once, that I would not work with computers. They’d been around all my life, and it wasn’t resistance to change or “newfangled technology” that made me edge away from them. It was simply that I associated them with unwieldy, bus-sized boxes full of boredom. I associated them with accounting and other dull forms of record-keeping. There was nothing about flipping bits on and off that excited the least little spark of interest.
I played with the punched out bits from punch cards before we knew they made dangerous confetti. I played games like Hamurabi, at school (seems one needs math skills not to starve hundreds to their deaths and be declared a national fink), on a PDP-something-or-other (I want to say 9, but maybe it was 11). Whatever. PD-Pete, we called it. I got to play with one of the first desktop computers – the TRS-80 – and typed up code copied from a book and stored it on cassette tapes. I played Lunar Lander and crashed my spaceship on the moon pretty consistently. “No, computers are your thing, Dad. I want no part of that. I’m going to be a writer.” While some women have a weakness for shoes, I can’t be turned loose with a credit card in an office supply store. I have thing for fountain pens and I’m not happy unless I’m surrounded by paper and books.
But in a strange twist of fate, I landed a job working with computers. I bought my first computer when I went back to law school. I learned to appreciate the relative speed of a PC keyboard and printer – and the joy of not having to redo everything over a single typo. I worked as a technical writer documenting computer hardware and software – for decades. And now I blog and work with social media. You’d think my PC was an extension of my fingertips.
I smiled to myself when my daughter would say things like, “No offense, but I don’t want to be a writer.” I would marvel at her musical inclinations and her athletic prowess, and wonder what strange and recessive genes her father and I passed along. I watched her sprinkle commas like confetti – her spelling impeccable from the start, but her punctuation seemingly designed to drive my inner editor to drink.
And yet – she ended up taking a job as editor of her college newspaper. She began to write thoughtfully crafted essays and term papers. She began to…blog. Professionally. She doesn’t have my attachment to a keyboard, though she types even faster, and with greater accuracy, than I do. No, she has a weird affinity for ancient technology – like paper. And she is an amazing writer.
Kids, just surrender to it. The universe will play little practical jokes on you all your life, and you can rail against it all you like – the road’s going to lead where it’s meant to lead. The universe is a poet and a jokester. Don’t blame your parents.