Eulogy for a Mutt

Dixie, January 2009

Dixie, our family’s dog, died at the age of 12 on Friday. She had a sudden onset of cancer, and before my dad could take her to the vet to have her suffering taken away she died in his arms. And I am glad for that.

Dixie spent her first night with our family with my dad. He stayed with her all night that very first day at home. And she was glued to him ever since.

Of course it was mutual. It had been years since we had a dog. Dixie was Dad’s 50th birthday present. Mom joked at the shop about getting him a perfect mid-life crisis present. “You got him a car??” “No! I got him a dog!”

Dixie was his dog, no doubt about it. She was a family Lab for sure, but that Chessie was her daddy’s. I was a distant but acceptable second. It probably helped that I act and sound like him.

This past March, we got to travel and see my parents’ new home. The kids got to see the mutt we loved so dear. It was a good feeling that even after moving away years ago and having my own St Patty’s girl, Dixie never forgot me. A quick sniff and hearing my voice and I got the loving head-butt to the jewels. Not a hesitation that I was one of her boys.

It’s understandable. We grew up together, were bull-headed teenagers together (I was 18, she was 2). Dixie was more than happy to jump on the couch with you. And you, much more appropriately, were likewise as happy to sit on the floor with her.

These pets of ours certainly know how to worm into everyone’s hearts. Stories of late gaming at my house and stories about Hobbes and Dixie are thoroughly interwoven. The running gag with Dixie at the gaming table was if she did a backflip, we’d give her a pizza. I think it started with a slice, but we kept upping the ante. We knew as time passed that she was just saving it up for us.

In the back of my mind, I still feel like she is.

Twelve years is too damn short, and good and long. Dixie was happy and she made us twice that. Life without her would have been so much more hollow. No happy greetings nearly knocking you over, no telling you when dinner was done, and who the hell knows if Earth itself would have survived without her reminders to recycle.

So with tears in my eyes and a smile in my heart, I say goodbye to our family dog. As imperfect as any of us, and perfectly one of us, we all know we would not have been a fully family without that brown dog.

Goodbye, Dixie-Belle. I love you.

Dixie, March 2011

To Them

Happy 31st Anniversary to my parents!
I think they’ve both passed the Most Marker now.

What is the Most Marker you ask? You didn’t. Probably best you didn’t, since that would involve talking to your computer. You know it can’t hear you, right?

The Most Marker is the point in your life when you’ve spent more time being one way or doing something than not. Such as turning 32 and you’ll have spent more of your life knowing how to drive than not. Or turning 12 and you’ll have spent more of your life without training wheels than with.

My most important Most Marker already happened. About two months after my son turned 6. At that point I had been his dad longer than not. And I’m coming up on 5 years with my wife, so I’m on my way to that wonderful Most Marker, though quite a ways to go yet.

I love you, Mom and Dad. Happy Anniversary.

Rest Easy, Mr Jobs

I heard the news of Steve Jobs’ passing as soon as I opened a web browser last Tuesday night. There was no way to miss it. A dozen Facebook posts and Twitter essentially blew up. News travels fast in this world. A world made incredible mobile and easy to read thanks to him. Whether an Apple user or not, the landscape of technology was indelibly affected by him.

My life as an Apple user was not quick to come. I didn’t switch over until I got my first laptop, a PowerBook G4. That computer is probably still running somewhere, particularly with its strong OS, the thing that won me over in the first place. My feelings got stronger the more I used it and other computers like it. I’ve developed into an almost strictly Mac technician now. I don’t know that I would have if I was stuck with Microsoft-based systems. Maybe I would have gone to Linux, I don’t know.

I’ve been reading lovely eulogies and memories in general of the man and the environment and tools he created. While he didn’t code every bit of the systems he ran, his touch of refinement and the big ideas of their interconnection were his. He had a vision for what the world could be like that was not defined or limited by the way things are currently. We all could use a perspective like that.

The worst of it is that he was only 56. So young, so much time could have been left. He never put off what he knew he wanted to do, that much is obvious. And we should all be thankful for that fact. Still, I don’t think there is a person who can fathom the future he saw and probably was going to make in the next 25 years.

There’s not much I can really say, so I’ll pass on some links to a few of the things people have said and remembered about Steve Jobs. This man is and will long be remembered as someone of a caliber towards Edison, Franklin, and even Da Vinci.

  • One of my favorite stories about a 12-year-old Steve Jobs calling up a technology founder by the name of William Hewlett.

  • President Obama released a statement about the man. I think this says things well:

    Steve was fond of saying that he lived every day like it was his last. Because he did, he transformed our lives, redefined entire industries, and achieved one of the rarest feats in human history: he changed the way each of us sees the world.

    The world has lost a visionary. And there may be no greater tribute to Steve’s success than the fact that much of the world learned of his passing on a device he invented.

  • Though not really related to Mr Jobs the man, but a poignant comic about what killed him. 56 is too young. He was in his prime.

  • Stephen Colbert was the first to nearly draw a tear to my eye.

And for a final farewell, I think it’s best to end with an edit of an Apple ad, read by Steve Jobs himself.

Rest easy, Mr Jobs. And thank you for all you contributed.