One of the biggest influences on my life lasted 6-8 months. I worked in Rock Hill, SC programming in a language called Transact on Image databases. They were a proprietary programming language and database of HP. We hired this contractor named Roderick Earl Johnson. From day 1 he started harping on me to get into the 20th century (this was 1988). He said I had to have a PC and learn Oracle. He did not take no for an answer. I came into work one day, and he had a 386sx 16 in hand and told me I owed him x dollars for the PC. I had not told him not to so I wound up with a PC. About a week later when I walked into work, he was on the phone and said “get your credit card out and talk to her” and promptly transferred his personal Oracle license to me at the renewal rate. A week later, I had Oracle version 5.2 on my PC and was learning it. Today, I am an Oracle DBA making 6 figures. Had I stayed on the path I was on, I would be scrapping for work as Transact and Image are basically extinct in the computer world. He left a few months later and I haven’t seen him since although I have tried.
Comment by SondraK, Queen of my domain — June 27, 2012 @ 10:22 pm
My high school Latin and English teacher turned me into a grammar Nazi, and it has stuck to this day. His brother, my high school math teacher (it was a small school), made me love trig. One of my college physics professors is a friend to this day. I probably respect him most of all, since he is a person of real integrity. I also have four very close friends (I won’t name them here) who have taught me so much about loyalty, endurance, resourcefulness, and perseverance that I can’t imagine life without them. :)
Most recent influence: my boss – she’s ruined me for other women and not in a good way.
Most positive influence: my high school English teacher who mercilessly drilled his students in concise and coherent writing. This was when my high school started “dumbing down” its English/humanities courses to make them more “relevant”. The kids who took these courses and the teachers who taught them realized that these weren’t serious courses (e.g. analyzing comic books as “serious” literature).
Comment by Thunderbottom — June 28, 2012 @ 6:09 am
Yep. Jesus, former school teachers, bosses, all of that, but…..
In 1981 I was a senior in high school working at the local supermarket. On break one afternoon, I was eating some sort of trail mix. Nuts, raisins, twigs, etc. One of the check out girls was on break at the same time. I had a bit of a crush on her. She asked if she could have an almond. I took one out and handed it to her, but instead of taking it from me with her hand, she leaned forward and took it with her mouth, slightly touching my fingers with her lips.
30 years later, I cannot eat, or even THINK of almonds without thinking of her.
Trivial? Maybe. But it makes us realize that we affect people every day, often without even realizing it. I’m sure she goes on to this day eating almonds without thinking of me.
My first big job was as a nurses aid at the Lake Forest Ill. hospital. An RN there encouraged me to go into nursing. I did. While there I was having a bit too much fun with the room mates that were in the class ahead of me and letting the book work and testing slack. My instructor was concerned and gave me a good loving pep talk . In other words she scared the crap out of me and I buckled down. I can’t imagine what would have happened to me had I not. I’ve had gone thru so many Guardian Angels in my life I’m in the Guardian Angel pool.
Love all of the stories. They should be published.
Last couple years of HS and starting college I was dating this guy I had been friends with for years. I worked for his mom during this time. She really helped to cement who I am today. She taught me about the Jewish faith, I went to services with them, had passover dinner and sat Shiva with them when her husband passed away. I would have married him in a heartbeat just so I could officially call her mom. She made me promise at the time that I wouldn’t marry him just yet if he asked, because we hadn’t really learned who we were yet and we needed that time. She really showed me how to look ahead in life to make the right desisions today. She threw herself the biggest 50th birthday party ever, because the best time of her life had been when she was 25 and she was determined to make 50 twice as good. The hardest day of my life was the day I had to get on a plane to go home to AZ after her husband died. She told me she needed me to stay with the family. I think she wanted me to stay around so her son wouldn’t marry the girl he was dating then (he did and they divorced 18 months later) I cried the whole flight home. It broke my heart to leave, but I knew my life needed to start a new path. I still am friends with the family to this day and have on several occations thanked her for all she did for me.
My first wife. She saved me from certain death by marrying me and gave me the best 15 years two months and 8 days of my life then up and died on me. I’m still alive after another marriage that failed spectacularly leaving me broke to the bone but I’m coming back with the guidance of my lord and savior Jesus Christ and all my friends that have stuck with me through good and bad.
My fucking cat, DAYTU! (…an not in a good way, neither…)
Comment by Colonel Jerry USMC — June 29, 2012 @ 7:36 am
My friend’s father, Sean Miller. A man of the past; his funeral card had this on it:
A man, burnished in his armor; honor, courage integrity.
He was the reason I went from burnout loser to a peson who wanted to improve myself and my world.
He is sorely missed.