The following is, what you might call a testimonial, to our son Skip, that was to be read at the celebration of the receipt of the first patent for the “Selective Sprayer” that he has, with the help of several dedicated cohorts, been working on for a considerable length of time.
People who do not know Jim, as well as I do, might think that he is some kind of an expert. That is not the case, at all.
Remember, now, I am his Dad and, as such, I was in a position to observe his early life and see some of the damn fool things that he did. Most of which turned out to be exactly what he had planned for them.
I could tell, the instant that he was born, that there was something different about him. His very first yells were of a volume and clarity that seemed to send a message to all within range that said “if you aren’t going, don’t get in my way”.
He never wasted a lot of time with minor details.
Like the time that his older brother, Todd, was going to put a speaker in the back seat of his old Chevy. The only comment that Jim had was “it won’t work”.
He made no effort to point out, to Todd, that he was attempting to use an electro magnetic speaker with no way to get current to it’s coil. He just said “it won’t work”, and it didn’t.
He always expected other people to fulfill their obligations, such as the designers of the line controlled airplane that he got for Christmas, when he was about ten years old. He and I took it out onto the frozen lake for it’s first flight.
I am sure that he thought that if a person was smart enough to design a model airplane that could be flown by a ten year old kid, they would surely know that they should build in protection to keep it from looping and coming straight down, from an altitude of 100 feet and disintegrating upon contact with 12 inches of crystal clear ice.
If you want something done right, do it yourself.
On one occasion, Jim gave me an Osburn II computer that was rapidly becoming obsolete, but was still able to handle everything that I could comprehend. Shortly after I got the thing operating, it crashed. I didn’t know what to do with it, so I called the “expert”.
He said “nothing to it, just give it a good rap on the left side and then re-boot it”. I did it and it worked.
If he had told me to hit it a given number of times, at some specific point, with a precise amount of vigor, I could have believed that those years in that Engineering College had done the trick.
However, I have, in the past, seen people strike cigarette machines and newspaper vendors, I have seen them caress and cajole slot machines, and I have seen them kick ice dispensers.
I always thought that they were just venting their frustrations. Little did I know that they were highly trained engineers that actually knew what they were doing.
Had I known, thirty five years ago, what I have since discovered, I would not have sent that kid to college. I would have taken him out to the garage and showed him exactly where and how hard to kick a 1950 Chevrolet to make it start at ten degrees below zero.
Jim’s Mother and I are proud of him and are thankful that we were blessed with three of the finest sons that anyone could ever ask for.