Hello World.

 I remember sitting on a stool next to my father under the hooded fluorescent light in the basement. The greenish swatch of sickly luminescence swayed almost imperceptibly as the two thin chains that were artificially thickened by years of spiderwebs and dust rocked gently on some moldering air current. The dark wooden beams overhead with their dismal pink beards of brown paper-backed insulation. The soft lullaby of water dripping into the cistern. The bright, hot smell of the melting solder wafting up to my nostrils, as my father sat hunched over the tiny circuit board, his jeweler's loupe screwed into his bloodshot eye. My dirty elbows stamping into the dust of the bench holding up my weary head. I'd watch as he moved with the grace of a neurosurgeon over the transistors. The tip of the iron would touch the solder causing it to trickle onto the correct connection. Hours and hours and hours. And then he was done, and we had our first computer, and he programmed it to print over and over and over again on the cheap Black and White TV he had procured from a garage sale the week before. It was an ugly jumble of wires and anarchy and LEDs and capacitors with a push-pad keyboard that was really just a series of tiny flashlight switches. I remember sitting there and watching those words scroll endlessly, the pixels glowing like white coals in the dark basement. I remember reading the scrolling words in the reflection of my father's eyes as I looked back at him for confirmation that this hobby of his was talking to us.  The smile on his stubbly face as he looked on at his creation is one I will never forget.

"Hello World. Hello World. Hello World.Hello World. Hello World. Hello World.Hello World. Hello World. Hello World.Hello World. Hello World. Hello World.Hello World. Hello World. Hello World.Hello World. Hello World. Hello World.Hello World. Hello World. Hello World.Hello World. Hello World. Hello World.Hello World. Hello World. Hello World.Hello World. Hello World. Hello World.Hello World. Hello World. Hello World."

Two things were born at the same time in that moment. The computer and my love for them.

17 comments

Char said...

I can remember going to a cobol class and punching the cards and stacking them...then running the first crude program. I knew then that I sucked at that, but I would always respect what they did.

Anonymous said...

:)

"Hello WORLD!" is what my dad used to yell if someone opened the bathroom door while he was in there. hehehehehehehehehehe ~IC

Sungodly said...

Wow, that's pretty awesome. My own computer geekiness was born nearly that long ago, in 1982. I remember hunching over our Apple II+, typing BASIC code in the glow of the green-on-black CRT. In retrospect, I am AMAZED at how rarely I got my ass kicked back then (beatings from my older brother excluded).

Grey Street Girl said...

Lprint: "Great Blog!"

Kurt said...

@Char. That's 0ld sch001.

Kurt said...

@sungodly: LOVED the Apple II+. I played so much Lode Runner on that thing that I prayed for my fingers to fall off just so I could STOP!

Kurt said...

@IC: I just yell "I'm petting it!!!"

I can go 0-to-creepy in 2 seconds flat!

Kurt said...

@GSG:

10 Print "Thank You"
20 GOTO 10

Grey Street Girl said...

We're such nerds. Maybe all our communiqué should be in code. Then, we could publish our missives and title it, "Nerds in Love."

Kurt said...

@GSG: I would have to write a poem called "5318008" <3

Sungodly said...

Lode Runner KICKED ASS! But then, because I needed to double or triple my geek quotient - Wizardry, the computer equivalent of Dungeons & Dragons. My conversion to an indoor kid was then complete.

Kurt said...

@Sungodly: That makes it sound like you were turned to the dark side. Only in my head it's Darth Vader saying "You're journey to the Dork Side is now complete!" and then I just admitted that out loud so MY journey to the Dork Side is complete too. Welcome!

foxxx said...

10 Print "Hello Kurt, I love this blog"
20 Goto 10

Anonymous said...

Writing for publication Kurt?

Cynthia said...

Wow, this little story explains so much.

And I have no idea what any of you are talking about.

floyd said...

My father had that look in his eye when he rebuilt the engine to his 1968 Jeep Gladiator. That's when I fell hard for Jeep.

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