After 40 years as a computer programmer and game developer—and the passing of his wife of 47 years—Rick has retired and is now living in Ye Olde Folks Home, where he still tinkers with tech and likes to write these amusing and/or thoughtful tales about his storied life.

An Embarrassing Moment
In Memoriam: Betty Edwards-Vessel
A Little Knowledge is a Dangerous Thing
Who Would Jesus Stab?
The Eggshell Incident
First Chapel Service at Ye Olde Folks Home
A Yearly Ritual at Menards
“Mr. Loftus, the Town Hero”
The FCAL Project
Pepe Le Pew Finds New Lodgings
In Memoriam: Dale Lear
Bingo Bedlam at Ye Olde Folks Home
There’s a Shortage of Perfect Movies…
One Day at the DMV
A Visitor from Microsoft
“He Who Should Not Be Named”
Downton… Abbey?
This Home is a Liver-Free Zone
My 9/11 Rememberances
My Yearly Pumpkin Spice Rant
Done In By Baker’s Square
My Eulogy for Alice
“Dear Rikki…”
A Clean, Well-lighted Place for Books
Memories of my First Computer
A Little Excitement at the Staff Meeting
The Tale of Mrs. Butler
Sun, Sand, and a Margarita
“Thou Shalt Not Steal”
Troubleshooting at Ye Olde Folks Home
Stories of my Mother
I’ve Heard Angels Sing
Elevator Mishap at the Eye Clinic
One Day at Fair, Isaac
Saturday Morning Cartoons
A Sprig of Parsley
Fun With Recruitment Ads
Leave Her to Heaven
“Squirrel!”
Bring me Dave Bringle!
Beware! The Oldsters Are Coming!
Life Among the Progressives
A Family Ritual While Watching Masterpiece
The Unforgettable General Oppy
“Don’t Even THINK About Parking Here”
A Dubious Plan Gone Awry
The Singing Christmas Tree!
One Day in the Hospital Lab
The Legend of the Broken Timer
Nelson’s Fruit Stand
This One Time in Glee Club…
Star Trek References for the Win
Family Psalm, Stuck in Lodi
Vacation in Branson
Clyde and Ruth Revisited
COVID Policies During my Wife’s Fatal Illness
I Guess I’m the Shadow IT Department Now
The Tale of Clyde and Ruth
My Garden of Gethsemane Story
We Might Get a Virus!

Who Would Jesus Stab?

When considering the theological thought experiment “What Would Jesus Do,” bear in mind that flipping over tables and chasing people around with a whip, according to all four Gospels, is not out of the question.

Which evokes a memory from my days in junior high school.

We had lunch in a multipurpose gym/auditorium/cafeteria, with long tables set out for us. I would go get my tray with its little dishes for the main course, the vegetables, and of course the all-important dessert.

Kids like dessert. And what is better than a dessert? Two desserts, of course. And I was a scrawny little thing, teased and picked on a lot, so guess where they might acquire a second one?

I would set my tray down, and quick as a bunny a hand would reach out to snaffle my dessert, or my roll, or some other item, and it would be passed from hand to hand down the table until it disappeared from sight.

I hit upon the tactic of taking one bite out of every item right away, hoping to discourage this thievery, but that didn’t always work.

Then one day when I sat down and saw someone reach out towards my dessert plate, I impulsively jabbed my fork in that direction. The sharp tines of the fork speared mere centimeters to the left of the offending hand.

My tormentor jerked his hand back in a panic, and I followed up by running around the end of the table and charging him, fork still in hand, in a screaming, berserker rage.

He ran out of the cafeteria, desperate to escape my wrath, and I turned back after failing to catch up with him.

I confess that the reason I barely missed his hand was that I had carefully aimed a bit to the side—I’m not a monster—and I deliberately paced myself so that he barely escaped my clutches.

I didn’t want to harm him. I just wanted to send a message.

That worked. I had no trouble of that kind after that.

They say it’s always best to stand up to bullies. That was pretty much the strategy I used.

It wasn’t always a perfect solution, mind you. Sometimes I got the ever-living snot pounded out of me.

But they usually did leave me alone after that, even then: I was too much trouble. Bullies tend to be stupid and lazy, preferring easy targets.

Nowadays you’d risk gang retaliation. But gangs weren’t a thing in my area back then. And schools have zero-tolerance policies now, so you’d also be risking expulsion.

It was a simpler time.