Wednesday, April 6, 2011

No limits

I love this time of year.  We still have a tiny bit of snow left on the ground, but spring is springing.  It's super-cliched to talk about spring as a time of endless possibilities opening up -- and many years can go by without feeling that feeling -- but this year it hit home.  I just went out for my first outdoor exercise walk since last fall, and it felt great. The song "Mission" by Rush came up on the random shuffle, appropriately inspirational...
Hold your fire -
Keep it burning bright
Hold the flame 'til the dream ignites -
A spirit with a vision is a dream with a mission....
During that song, I brushed against something on the keys I was holding in one hand. It was a small piece of useless metal that has been hooked onto my key chain for several decades.  How appropriate... I added that thing to my key chain in 1989, back when I was still playing D&D on weekends. It was given to me by this guy,
Larry, after I had known him for three years prior.  Three years that I was working for the research group from hell, the group with the super-rigid hierarchy, and me always at the bottom. He felt my pain and heard my griping. But 1989 was when I finally broke away, into a group that actually gave me real stuff to do, valued my input, didn't chain me to a Bridgeport milling machine for 8 hours at a stretch.  :-)

In a techy-looking control room down the hall from the machine shop pictured above, I was monitoring some readouts on something or other, and Larry was there in case anything important broke down.  In the down-time, he was playing with some small bits of stainless steel wire with a needle-nose pliers.  I was glad we got a chance to reconnect, and I told him about how this new group was everything the old one was not.  When he got up to eventually go, he tossed me this small figure-8 piece of steel.  I decided to see it as not vertically as an 8, but horizontally as an infinity sign... and a sign of the limitless future ahead.  It's still on my key chain 22 years later,
a reminder to never settle for crap and always push those limits.


  1. That's inspiring, a great tale of personal connections.

  2. Thanks Chris. By the way, have you seen Alexis' similarly-themed post today (on not settling for mediocrity)? That guy is impressive!