Sunday, February 13, 2011
Day 30 - Windows
Most people don't know why Bill Gates named his Microsoft Operating System package Windows. Yes a window most commonly is what Webster defines a: an opening especially in the wall of a building for admission of light and air that is usually closed by casements or sashes containing transparent material (as glass) and capable of being opened and shut. It also is defined as: d : an opening in a partition or wall through which business is conducted window>. This is what make sense logically why Gates would name his biggest selling product windows. There is plenty of business conducted using his product.
But the truth is neither of these are why he came up with this now famous brand name. I saw a television show where Bill's father was being interviewed. He told of his son who didn't do well in school (I imagine because he was bored) and in ninth grade had found out about the local college's program. The program was about computer technology and the college was Berkeley. The bus route ran about two blocks from Bill's home and at night he would sneak out of the window to ride the bus to college at the age of 14. So now we know. Bill was applying Websters other definition: a means of entrance or access; especially : a means of obtaining information window on history>.
A means of obtaining information is exactly what his operating system does and we are dependent upon as pc users. As a parent in this case, Mr. Gates, Sr. never knew until his son told him as an adult. I'm glad he didn't find out as I've been there and it's something I don't wish upon anyone! I received a call at 4 AM in the morning. As the phone rang and woke me up out of a sound sleep the conversation is a little fuzzy. But it went something like this:
Sheriff: Mrs. W, this is the [local] Sheriffs Department and do you know where your son [name omitted to protect the guilty] is?
Me: I most certainly do, he is in bed sleeping.
Sheriff: No Maam, I have him here beside me.
Me: Where are you?
Sheriff: I'm located [at a place seven miles from my house!]
Me: Wait a minute, let me go check his room.
I went to his bedroom and the door was locked. I got the key and unlocked the door and sure enough he was GONE and the window was OPEN. I was shocked and horrified. I returned to the phone.
Me: Sheriff, how did he get down THERE?
Sheriff: He rode his bike
Me: He doesn't have a bike!
I hear the Sheriff ask my son about the bike.
Sheriff: He said he found this bike in the woods.
Me: I'll be right there to pick him up.
Sheriff: What do you want me to do with the bike?
Me: I don't give a @#$% about the bike, you can keep the @#$% thing or give it to some child who will listen to his/her parents and not sneak out at night! It's 4AM in the morning and my fourteen year old doesn't respect the rules of his parents, !#@$#%%. I'll be there in about fifteen minutes.
The only comfort I gained from this event was he was traveling to see a fellow referee. I was devastated to have to make a call the next morning to my friend and fellow referee. It was the right thing to do to tell him that my son had crawled into his window to see his child. My referee partner became my friend that day. I started the conversation with after I tell you what I'm going to tell you, I'll understand if you never want to talk to me again. I'm very sorry. After hearing what I had to say, he said, "Brenda-jean, all kids do
things we wish they wouldn't. This will not affect our friendship." Wow! I was blown away. How could somebody still be my friend after that?
My friend had become my window, as he became my means to obtaining new information about how you define a friend. Friend defined in Webster is traditionally known as 1a : one attached to another by affection or esteem 1b : acquaintance but what became clear in my window that night was the other definition: 2
a : one that is not hostile. He had every right to be and yet he wasn't. I will never forget him and his kindness that day. It is a view I am forever grateful. [The Spanish word for view is Vista but that's another blog]
Begin challenging your own assumptions. Your assumptions are your windows on the world. Scrub them off every once in awhile, or the light won't come in. ~ Alan Alda