My mother refuses to touch computers. She's a secretary by trade, and still works on an IBM Selectric II typewriter, rather than do any word processing. She says it's because her eyes don't get along with CRTs, but some of it is just stubbornness.
But she's always had the technical and literal mindset which I find in computer geekdom. She conceptually invented the video tape recorder before they were available or even known to the public. She had to explain the concept of floppy disks and files to a guy who had just bought a Smith Corona word processor.
As far back as I can remember, my mom would playfully answer boolean questions in a boolean sense. "Do you want orange juice or apple juice?" "Yes." "Do you vote Republican or Democrat?" "Yes." She would always grin at this point, and the questioner was left to stare blankly or rephrase their question. She'd also rattle off phrases with many carefully counted negatives, "I don't want none of your not misbehaving nor being contrary," leaving us to unravel the intent of the sentence, to see if it matched by context what she really meant.
She loved all manner of word games, but I'm sure the logical word games alone are the key formative experience that led me to my current career. It didn't make choices for me, but shaped my thoughts and affinities to the point where computer programming was an obvious pursuit.
[ e d @ h a l l e y . c c ]
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