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Memories of a great friend.

July 13 2008 at 2:30 PM
from IP address

If I had to bet that Mac would become one of my best friends from our first encounter, I’d have lost a bundle.

In that thread, he accused me of possibly being an “Andy Giesler.” Andy was apparently this guy who posted questions and never returned to acknowledge answers. I figured, hey, I returned after only 11 hours to check for answers! At many QB forums, it took a few days to a response; so, I figured checking back a half a day later was more than acceptable, right? WRONG! Apparently, I stumbled into some super forum where questions were answered somewhere between the post and exit clicks. Of course, this fast response time became one of the things I loved about this forum. Unfortunately my ego, which costs me a lot (although less since I started buying it stretch pants) made me think that this Mac person must be some 18-year-old live-at-home genius with an 8086 chip on his shoulder! Well I’ll admit I was wrong but not to overly deflate my ego, I submit I was actually two-thirds correct in my assumption! After all, Mac did live at home (OK, he owned it) and he was a genius, although an older genius. So all I missed the age thing by what, a few measly decades? Well, kidding aside, I was actually quite shocked when I discovered Mac was officially a senior citizen. I think my early age misperception came about because Mac had always, always, always, presented himself with a never ending youthful energy. All my forum posts, chat, and email experiences suggest to me that Mac completely fit the expression, “young at heart.”

Looking back I did notice that Mac never replied when I started making posts to help other people. I think it might have had something to do with the fact that to get more attention, I came up with this brilliant idea to start my posts with three asterisks in front of them. I later found out, thanks to Solitaire, that an asterisk in a message title meant that there was no content inside the message title. I can only imagine when Mac read those early posts, he just thought, ‘Hmm, Pete is telling me he made an empty reply… a really, really empty reply!’ Oops, back to the drawing board! Anyway, after getting the hang of posting around here, we started to correspond more in threads and later in emails, over 200 emails. This brings me to another way I will remember Mac, unlike me, he was always so concise. Sometime I think for fun I might try chaining all his emails together and pasting them into Micro$oft Word, just so I can get Clippy to come on screen and display: It looks like you’re “trying” to write a letter. Can I help? I mean seriously, I sent Mac more than a few four or five paragraph emails, only to receive a reply to sender, “Right!” – Mac. I would double over laughing. I was 100% sure he knew what was going on and I will always especially remember and appreciate Mac for his sense of humor.

I’ll also remember Mac for being extremely competitive. I remember several times we would go at it back and forth posting code to try to solve a problem. We would tell each other, "You will be eating crow for sure this time!" I think I told Mac once to not worry, because crow tastes like chicken! I think he replied, “That’s good to know.” Drat, zinged me again! But Mac would always admit when he was wrong and congratulate you for being right, on those so very rare occasions. Mac was indeed competitive, honorable, a good sport, and a great friend. I will always remember him that way.

I also remember that Mac wasn’t much for using the chat room; however, I do recall the first time he ventured in. He posted, “Hi Pete!” To which I posted: “Hi Mac, what are you wearing?” OK, by now he got the fact that I was always joking around but I was still under the impression that Mac was pretty much all business. It took him a couple of seconds to reply but instead of what I expected, I got this: “Lace negligee!” OK, I admit I had trouble initially picturing Mac’s age but now, well that new image just sent me straight into therapy! Luckily, we continued to meet in chat from time to time, provided I was medicated, first.

One day, we came up with this Maxwell Smart and the Chief of Control routine. We used to refer to the chat room as the Cone of Silence, probably because anyone visiting the Forum Index can see what is typed in the chat room. Pretty much like the one “worked” on the television series, Get Smart. Maybe it was that Chief of Control bit that started me referring to Mac as “Boss” in emails and some posts. I know Mac always stated this was not his forum and that he was here to pay to keep ads off it and to remove spam. Maybe so, but I think he contributed a lot more. My use of “Boss” was my fun way of indicating to him that I felt he was a leader of this community.

Mac also impressed me as one who had special management skills. I learned he had a Karma about him that kept this forum lively. His numerous contributions and dedication to QBasic programming are remarkable to state the least. Mac had the kind of passion necessary for success and I always considered him a man of distinct and exceptional character. I was fortunate to be a part of his Kriegspiel Referee Project. It isn’t easy to keep a team of people together to create a program. In fact, most ‘group’ projects I have seen discussed throughout the years start well and Peter out… Oops, make that fizzle out. When Mac asked me if I would be interested in contributing to the KR Project, I did so knowing that if anyone could get a group of programmers to produce a program, Mac could and in fact, did.

I have always admired Mac’s ability to write code. His coding style looks like something that you would buy out of a box. I think his use of structure should be a tutorial unto itself. How he ever put up with my ALL CAPS, no indenting, crazy names for variables, multiple use variables, and use of DEFINT is more than I can understand. Maybe if I threw in a couple of GOTO statements he would have banned my IP address, forever! Either that or maybe my wife was paying him on the side to let me stay at the forum. (Here’s this month’s $50.00. “Please let Pete stay at the forum, it keeps him out of my hair!” Reply, “Check cleared, OK.”

Mac and I had a lot of fun over the things we shared in common but we did have different opinions when it came to religion. I always respected his opinion not to believe in God and he always respected my opinion to be wrong. I can only hope that Mac has finally learned crow really does taste like chicken, because occupants like Mac would make a place like Heaven a wonderful place to end up in. If I’m wrong, then all I can state is sleep well my friend, and as Bob Hope sang, “Thanks for the Memories.”




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