Friday, April 19, 2013

He said: "I was going to be immortal! I was going to be famous!"

This is a true story that happened to me back in the late 90s.  I don't use any names...because I don't remember them.  I still have records of the students, so I might be able to track the person down...

It was the late 90s, I believe.  My memory is a little hazy and most of the details are lost to time.  

I owned a small, yet growing school of music in the Pasadena, TX area.  We had several NASA engineers who sent their kids to our school.

There was one parent, an engineer, who was exceptionally nice (I think he worked for NASA.  I could be wrong).  He was waiting on his daughter at the time.  She was taking piano lessons, I think.  He had several books open and was being very studious.

I was an engineer as well, so we got along and would often chat.  I asked him what the books were for.

"I'm learning about programming in AJAX" or some other programming language like that.  This guy had a very pleasant smile.  He was a quiet man.  He loved his daughter very much.

I asked him if this was a requirement at his job.

"No," he said.  "I've been laid off."  He had frantically put together a curricula so that he would have marketable skills to find other employment (which he did).

I was a little shocked.  I asked what happen.

"Have you heard of SDI?"

I told him I had.  I knew that there had been some cuts to the program for one reason or another. Like I said, this was a while back and I don't remember all the details.

"I wrote the algorithm that guided the path of the missile we would launch to destroy an incoming nuclear warhead."

So he proceeded to tell me about that and what he did.

THIS WAS THE MAN who had done the math on how to destroy incoming missiles with another missle.  And I can't remember his name.

"We were about to start testing.  Everything was set. Then we got the word.  Everything was shut down."

I couldn't help but think what an ignoble end for a man destined for greatness.  This couldn't have happened to a better man.  

"Gary, I was destined to be famous!  This was my shot at immortality!"

At about that time his daughter came out and they left.  

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