I'll start the Halloween ball rolling with a story of my own... Send along your own tale of Internet strangeness, and around Midnight (GMT), I'll post some of the best...
I had known him for about 10 years when he died, too young, too soon. He was the President of our local School Board, I was the Vice President. We worked closely together on all of the topics and issues that face a School Board over the years. Even through the times when the cancer made it difficult for him to go on. He was that kind of man.
His name was John, and he was more than just my collegue... he was my friend.
He was also what I would call a computer nerd wannabe. He loved geneology and created incredibly detailed databases of his own designing. He was a sucker for the latest and greatest technology gizmos, and always had newer and cooler toys than me. But when things got beyond the world of his pre-packaged software, he was out of his depth. That's when I'd get a call.
I pulled more than a few viruses off of his machine, always leaving him with a gentle reminder about safe computer practices. But I could never get frustrated with him. The differences in our ages placed him squarely in the generation before me, and getting angry at him would be like getting angry at my dad... something that I just could never do.
The day that he died, I was both honored and terrified when his wife and daughter asked me to speak at his funeral. What would I say? How could I possibly sum up a life?
The funeral was to be in three days, and for two of those days I spent my time gathering facts about his life: his years of service at his job, his family history, his years on the School Board. On the night before the funeral, I sat down at my laptop and stared at a blank Word document, trying to decide where to begin.
I wrote. I wrote for about two hours, putting down a listing of accomplishments, accolades, and achieviements. With each new item that I listed, a weight seemed to press down on me, more and more. It just wasn't right.
Then, as I sat there looking at what I had written, the sound of a chime indicated that I had received a new email message. I switched over to my email program and was incredibly startled to see that I had received an email message from, of all people, John.
The subject line read: "Thank you"
I flipped back over to Word, and opened a new document. In about twenty minutes, I'd written a new eulogy with a very simple subject: "Thank you." Thank you for all that you were. Thank you for the difference you made. Thank you for being you.
Although I never actually opened the email, I didn't need to look into the situation too closely to know what had happened. One of the subject lines used by Netsky when it forged virus-laden email messages was "Thank you."
I still have that message, unopened, at the bottom of my in-box.
Oct 31st 2005
1 decade ago