Hurt Squirrels
So Long, Don, And Thanks For All The Fish
7/31/2004 1:51 PM
The world has one less geek today. I just returned from the funeral of my friend Don Senzig, who died earlier this week at the much-too-young age of 53. He was the stereotypical old school geek, the kind with the scruffy beard, suspenders and pocket protector. Oh, and don't forget the glasses. Although I try and shy away from looking like that, I still love those sort of geeks.

Some might seem it odd that I call him friend, since we never really "hung out" together. They might say "work-related acquaintance" would be more accurate. Bah, I say. From the first time I met him, I could tell what kind of person he was and felt an instant bond. We were both geeks who enjoyed computers and science fiction; that sort of thing goes a long way in geek culture.

Another reason why I prefer not to call him a work-related acquaintance is that I never actually worked with him. Not directly anyway. He actually work with my girlfriend Patty; I met Don soon after she started working with him. Eventually, I would come to work in the same place, but a few years after Don left.

However, I still had occasional contact with him. Don had originally been the engineer/computer support person; when he left, the job was split up to two different people. I was his successor on the computer support side of things. Don had been an avid support of Amiga computers and we still had a few in use. Since my experience with Amigas was, shall we say, limited, I often consulted him when problems arose. He was always happy to oblige.

I was at work when I learned of his death. My eyes fell to the shelf filled with Amiga software and manuals that still sat in my office. That stuff always reminded me of Don. Now, even more so.

When I attended the funeral today, I was delighted to see that friends had filled his casket with all sorts of trinkets that he loved. A circuit board, a small screwdriver set, a copy of Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy, stuff like that. He was like a geek pharaoh, loaded up with the things he would need in the afterlife. It also made me feel less embarrassed.

I approached his window Dorothy and pulled from my pocket an Amiga Workbench diskette. I told her I'd like Don to have it. She completely understood. With a teary smile, she tucked it in his hand. I said goodbye to that fuzzy face one last time, happy to know that he would have some great toys to play with.

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