Dad, Mom And Computers
Posted by Mitch Mitchell on Jun 16, 2009
My dad left this world 7 years ago this day at 4:45PM. I think about it every year a few days before, then a couple of days afterwards, then move on with life. It’s an interesting concept, having to “move on with life”, but it’s what all of us end up having to do at some point, right?
My parents were instrumental in my getting into computers to begin with. I didn’t want a computer; I’d never even thought about a personal computer. Back in 1987, I was a musician; okay, more of a songwriter, but a part time musician. I used to sing at weddings, in the wedding ceremony, and it wasn’t such a bad thing. The one thing I always wanted if I was going to be a performer was everyone’s full attention; I wouldn’t play just for playing’s sake, except when I practiced at home.
I used to play for hours at a time. Every once in awhile, I’d be messing around with a motif, and it would produce a song, which usually only took me 30 minutes or less to write, lyrics and all. That’s just how easy it seemed to come to me. Now, I wasn’t popular or anything like that. I didn’t write anything that could have been a hit (well, one song could have been a hit if Lionel Richie sang it; I sent it to his people, but never heard back), so mostly the songs were for me.
Therefore, I didn’t want a computer. I didn’t want anything that would take me away from my music. I didn’t even watch TV back then. I went to work, came home, played, wrote, slept. On weekends I disconnected the phone and played all weekend long; that’s how serious I was.
But my parents were insistent, especially Mom, that I have one. She said it was the future, and I should be there with it. Then it became Dad’s mantra. Finally, they drove here one weekend, as they lived out of town, took me to Sears, and bought me my first computer. It was an IBM, and it had a dual floppy drive; my parents never bought the lowest thing, so that dual floppy drive was the latest thing on the market.
I didn’t do almost anything with it for two years. It was just there as something to take up space. The only thing I did was type up my lyrics so I could save them as a file instead of only on paper; that was pretty smart, I must say.
Two years later, I was at a different job, on a career track, and suddenly the computer meant a lot more to me. And, over the years, it’s kind of taken over my life. I ended up buying my dad his first computer; how about that? I did it so we could talk via instant messaging, using ICQ, and he then encouraged all his siblings to buy computers so all of us could talk that way. It’s amazing that, for awhile at least, computers brought us all together so we could talk more than any of us had talked to each other before.
When Dad got sick, I used his computer to contact everyone he was in online contact with to let them know that they may never hear from him again; they didn’t. It was amazing how Dad had met so many new friends online; I’d never thought he would take to it like he did. He actually was learning how to do HTML long before I even thought about doing it; he didn’t get far, though.
Anyway, I owe my present life, but regular and business, to my parents. They had vision I didn’t have, and to that, I’m grateful. I’m missing Dad today, but I know his spirit is in my head. And sometimes, that’s all it takes to get through another day.