Recently I told you about how, in high school, a casual decision to take an elective added a new direction to my compass. That new direction turned towards a world I had never imagined, and the path along that direction brought me to many joyful and wonderful experiences. For a long time I followed that path towards an imagined future somewhere down the road.
But in college, once again, a casual decision to try something new added yet another direction to my compass. And that path, too, led to joy and wonder. And that path did take me down a road towards my future. Towards my present.
At some point a few years after discovering this new path, I began to refer to the high school discovery as “my first rebirth.” That made the college one my second “rebirth.” And the term is apt, because I was, indeed, reborn into a new world of experience and knowledge. But these days, to be “reborn” has another meaning I don’t intend.
For a while I called them my “big discoveries.” Looked at that way, theatre (and the art world in general) is my second discovery. The first happened at a very young age when I discovered science fiction. On my Who? page, I cite the college discovery as, “the third discovery that paid for all.”
As the world became more computer aware, about the mid-80s, I was able to start using the term “rebooted.” My life was rebooted twice by then. I suppose the third reboot was when I got married, but the disk crashed and wiped out all the data.
Actually, no, I take that back; the third reboot was going to work for The Company and entering Corporate America.
The rise of social media in the last decade made the concept of “2.0” lingua franca, and that is how I can write articles about My Life 2.0 and 3.0 (and yes, more versions to come). In that first article I mentioned that the “rebooted” and “2.0” terminology applied even more to the next big discovery. Now you’ll see why.
What I discovered during my last year of college was computer programming. It was the fall of 1977 when I walked into my first computer class, and I still remember seeing something written on the blackboard that appeared to use English, but which made no sense to me.
It was my first exposure to a computer language, called BASIC. I would come to speak that language, and many others over the years, as fluently my native tongue.
At the time, computers—big ones, PCs were still a few years off then—were just becoming accessible to normal people. For my classes we used a Data General Nova that the college funded by sharing time to local merchants.
My first coding experiences were on a teletype KSR Model 33, a noisy, sluggish machine. Spending hours in a small room with eight of them (and concrete block walls) left you with ringing ears!
My first programs were stored on the high-tech medium of punched paper tape! The next semester’s classes gave me access to the university’s IBM 360, and there I graduated up to the “fun” of punch cards. As the years went on, I embraced computer programming with the same passion and joy as I had theatre and film and television production.
And for a long time, this new path was a personal one, a joyful hobby. Three years out of college, I went to work for TC as a hardware tech. In my Work Reflections post I wrote about how the hardware job evolved into a software job, how the hobby became a career.
I’ve also written about a narrow escape from career conclusion in 2004 as well as the latest round of free fall. And how both dives brought me close, so very close, to the ground.
Last time I had two days left when I got a soft offer and one day left when that offer was locked in.
This time… my parachute opened and fully deployed with five days remaining!
Today, my friends, is a joyful day.
This morning’s interview was a call-back for further discussion, but at the end of that discussion, I was invited to join a new fold.
And since this fold interested and excited me, I was more than happy to accept.
Today is a joyful day.
(The only downside at all is that this is really going to cut into my blogging time!)
But for now, it’s party time! I’m buying. What can I get you?