Tuesday, November 10, 2009

I knew him, Horatio

A man of infinite jest.

When I met Bernie Stewart, he was already in his 50s and had never had any use for a computer, and literally didn't know how to turn one on. As you can read in the obit linked above, by the time he finally retired he had built a strong small business out of computer repairs.

The reason, as far as I can tell, that a man born at the outset of World War II decided to get in to computers late, was that he became addicted to solitaire. So while it may be the biggest destroyer of productivity since the invention of alcohol, in at least one case Microsoft Windows Solitaire was actually responsible for an increase in productivity.

The fact that flight simulators had gotten shockingly good by the late 1990s, and Bernie had been grounded ever since his first heart attack, probably didn't hurt either.

Anyway, Bernie's the reason I have a great deal of scorn for people who claim to be too old, or too confused, or too whatever for computers. He started from nothing and within a few years was running laps around his teachers, figuratively speaking. His curiosity and good humour saw computers as just something new to learn, a perspective I wish more people would bring to all the areas of their lives.

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