Thursday, November 17, 2016

The Right Moral for This Day

Dad started working with computers back when they filled a climate controlled room, used giant magnetic tape reels for storage, and the smallest user input feature was the typewriter stapled to an anwar sized Keypunch Machine.           

Dad told me a tale of the day when he was in charge of Technical Support and the boss (Tom) got a phone call telling him that a massively important file containing all the financial records of this large financial based company has been lost during an update

There are naturally a couple of bad words in here, but it’s OK because they’re used correctly and properly in a sentence.

The details were hazy because the guy immediately started screaming both into the phone and at everyone in the room, demanding to know what had happened and who had done something wrong to lead to this.

Mid rant, he stopped cold…

Stared blankly into space…

And let the phone handset fall and hang beside the desk.

Following what must have been an unbearably long, uncomfortable, and future career questioning silence, he addressed the team of workers without changing his vacant gaze:

“That son of a bitch said ‘April Fool.’”

And stood silently.

Jack, a calm and laid back southerner, who was also intelligent and highly effective at getting things done, related the following story to Tom in earshot of Dad and the others. He used a tone and demeanor of one imparting critical elements of wisdom.

Once upon a time, a little green fly was flitting around and he happened upon a huge pile of manure.

Being a fly, he landed and tucked in for the greatest meal of his life.

He ate and ate and ate, gorging himself until he could barely move.

When done with his giant feast, the green fly was upset to learn he had consumed so much, he could no longer take off and fly away.

Sticking out of the manure pile was a shovel.

The green fly, eyed it, and proceeded to make the long and difficult climb across the blade and up the shaft to the very end.

With a surge and a grunt the green fly leapt off of the end of the shaft, beat his wings furiously…

And plummeted to the ground where he smashed himself flat.

Jack paused for effect and then continued.

The moral of this story is:

Don’t Fly off the Handle when You’re Full of Shit.

Tom and staff of the computer room were grateful to get this valuable life lesson.

In tribute to the moment, they changed the labels on all the reels of magnetic tape they had.

The new serializations in the tape library (where Mom was the librarian when the two of them met) went:


When higher ups or other departments asked what the “GF” in bright green ink on all the tapes were, they proudly told him:

“Good File.”

Even Tom had to admit it was funny, and remembered the lesson when he went off to Washington to take the head controller spot. Uncoincidentally with his outlook, Jack became boss of the whole computer room.  Dad also continued to rise, eventually changing companies, and becoming a Director of Technical Support Services…

At least until we were grown and the bills were more under control.
Then he went back to being a programmer, and while less “important” was far happier than he’d been in years.

Yet another valuable moral from Dad.

I couldn’t have posted this on April Fool’s Day without giving away the ending to the phone call. 

Therefore they are the right morals for today.

Happy Birthday Dad, not a day goes by that I don’t miss learning new lessons from you…

But not a day goes by that I don’t make a decision based on the ones you left me with.


Kim Luer said...

One of my favorite 'Dad stories' You've truly done it justice. Happy Birthday Daddy, I miss you.

Cousin Michael said...

Happy Birthday to my cousin Stan the man. This story reminds me of a person in my life who I often rely on for tough decisions. I use all the life lessons he taught me while i was young to make decisions everyday. So far his wisdom has steered me through many a hard times. So far, REAL good! Thanks Jeff for another great post... as usual.


Helen Conte said...

Even though I was busy working on the computer, I needed to stop and read your blog, because it referenced Stan, your Dad, who I adored.
Keep up the good memories of this wonderful guy, that God took too early.

Jeff McGinley said...

Kim, thanx much. All his stories are favorites, even the ones he couldn't get through... (Moose Juice anyone?)

Michael, thanx means a lot. I think I know that guy. In fact, I think his picture is at the end of my post about the Godfather game with the rest of his awesome family.

Cousin Helen, thanx for taking a break to remember some great things.

Antonia said...

Lovely tribute and as always, a great read.

Jeff McGinley said...

Thanx Antonia.
Comments on these kind of posts always mean the most.