The year looked like it would be relatively uneventful. I had started my third semester at the University of Miami, studying Print Journalism and Philosophy. I was working as a web designer at the time, part time for the government agency NOAA. My mother had convinced me that taking a programming course would be good for my career. Though I am still a little uncertain about that, it proved to change my life.
After several weeks in the course it became clear that the Teacher's Assistant (TA) who was teaching my lab was just this side of totally incompetent. The poor girl couldn't speak English effectively and took an hour to explain a concept I, as a budding programmer, could explain in two minutes. I wrote an e-mail to the TA/Professor mailing list for the class requesting extra assistance for our class. Braden responded.
Now, his response was no longer that two sentences, but they were two intense sentences, replete with $10k words and complex structure. And his name: Braden N. McDaniel. This was someone I had to meet. Luckily for me, he said that he would come to our lab and help out.
The next week was electric with anticipation for me. Finally Friday came and I sat at my desk desperately trying to be patient. And then he walked in. He was a wild card wearing a black suede cowboy hat atop his bald head and a belt that hung down to his mid-thigh. He was one tall glass of cola with blue eyes like beacons. He floored me that first moment. Sitting with my friend Liz, I told her so. She looked at me as if I'd sprung antennae. She thought he looked weird. That was the point.
I wanted to talk to him but I couldn't think of anything, I was comprehending the material. I sped up my work to come up with a problem. Ultimately I came up with one and shot my hand up in the air, waving it around frantically. Braden came over and asked me what the problem was.
"The program isn't working," I said.
"Did you trying swinging a dead cat over your head?"
Liz gave me THE LOOK. I puzzled on the idea for a moment.
"Don't you mean hitting the dead cat against the computer?"
"No. That's for a hardware problem. You're having a software problem."
I further puzzled on the idea. "Wouldn't that be messy?"
"No no. You'd use a freshly dead cat."
"Oh." At this point the full comedic effect of the idea hit me and I started laughing. This was a morbid sense of humor I could definitely appreciate. Though it's not always morbid, it is ALWAYS dry, and it's a sense of humor I love terribly.
Braden told me that I impressed him in that moment. He knew I was a special person if I could laugh at his dead cat joke.
That day changed both our lives. I didn't stop until I had him. And now we're finalizing our commitment to each other in the eyes of the world.
Maybe that Java class didn't directly helped my career. But having Braden in my life has helped me to strive for the best, more than I thought possible. So Mom's advice paid off in the end anyway, even if not as she imagined.
Questions? Comments? Direct them to Gina.
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