Last Updated on September 30, 2010 by Dave Farquhar
Expect short shrift this week. I’m working a convention. I put in nearly 10 hours yesterday, what was supposed to be Saturday. I expect to do similar today, and I don’t expect much slowdown until Friday.
That’s good for the bank account, bad for the Web site.
I didn’t really pick up any new wisdom or knowledge yesterday. That’s a shame because I spent a good deal of time in the presence of some people who really know a lot of stuff. Hopefully today won’t be a wasted day.
One encouraging thing did come of yesterday. I had a fairly long conversation with a friend who’s having problems figuring out how to handle a situation. I’ve been struggling for the past couple of weeks with a very similar situation, unbeknownst to him. I was very flattered that he would come to me for advice; he’s about 15 years my senior and in a lot of ways he’s like the older brother I never had. He had to confront someone with an issue, and he started off talking about mutual respect and trust, then went in for the kill, and the other guy got ultra-defensive immediately.
So I asked him to imagine another situation. He has a daughter in her early teens. I don’t know if she’s started dating yet, but she’s close enough to that age that I’m sure he’s had to start thinking about how he’s going to deal with his oldest daughter dating. She’s one of those girls who can easily pass for someone much older–if someone had told me she was 17, I’d have certainly believed it.
So I told him to imagine her bringing home a new boyfriend, someone twice her age, maybe even three times her age. Then I raised the stakes. Not only is this guy old, he’s tattooed and pierced, and it’s pretty easy to see he’s only got one thing on his mind.
Obviously, I’ve just described every father’s worst nightmare. And of course if his daughter brought that home, he’d talk to her about it, and he’d start off by telling her how much he loves her and how much he wants the very best for her, then he’d try to talk about this creep. And she’d get really defensive and talk about how he just doesn’t understand. (In reality he does, because I’ve never met a male in my life who wasn’t absolutely capable of being the world’s biggest creep. And some day, she’d understand far better than she ever wanted to.)
But it just doesn’t matter that she’s wrong; she’s made up her mind about what she wants and she’s not going to see reality. And, well, a guy in his 60s can be blindsided like that too. Self-destructive behavior is self-destructive behavior, and it transcends gender and generational lines. It’ll just manifest itself in slightly different ways. Usually.
I know that didn’t help him solve the problem, but maybe it helped him see the other guy’s perspective a little better.
As for solving the problem? I’m clueless. But I feel better knowing that someone close to me that I really respect who’s seen about a decade and a half more life doesn’t have an answer either. An awful lot better. I haven’t felt hungry for the past couple of weeks. I ate, of course, because I knew I needed to. I ate about twice as much yesterday as I have been recently, and I still felt like I hadn’t eaten a thing all day. I think that’s a good sign.
David Farquhar is a computer security professional, entrepreneur, and author. He started his career as a part-time computer technician in 1994, worked his way up to system administrator by 1997, and has specialized in vulnerability management since 2013. He invests in real estate on the side and his hobbies include O gauge trains, baseball cards, and retro computers and video games. A University of Missouri graduate, he holds CISSP and Security+ certifications. He lives in St. Louis with his family.