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The things we lose (or at least the things I lose)

Topics/tags: Autobiographical.

As people who’ve seen my office, lab, or home know, I tend to accumulate things. All sorts of things. Books. Games. Office supplies. Paper. Tchotchkes. Music in its many forms. Old computing equipment. And much, much more. At some point, I will probably muse about likely reasons that I accumulate.

In any case, one of the benefits of accumulating things is that I sometimes stumble upon something I had forgotten I had, and experience a sense of joy in finding it. I had such an experience the other day. Michelle was cleaning off her desk and found a silver disk labeled Unpronounceable. I ventured a guess that it was a recording of Kumail Nanjiani’s show of the same name.

As I said, I was excited. It was an awesome show. I recall him performing it in Main Lounge [1]. I learned from a Web search that he had to stop performing the show because of death threats. And I was excited to muse about it and surrounding issues, such as the group of four or more CS majors from the class of 2001 who have all found careers in film [2]. I also wanted to get his comment about doing summer research with me right; I recalled it as something like

One summer, I stayed on campus to do research. I spent most of the summer under a tree, smoking cigarettes and reflecting on the conflicts between my faith and what I was learning in my philosophy classes [3].

I’m pretty sure that all that time he was sitting under a tree, he was supposed to be doing work for me. As you can guess, getting it right was important t ; since it seemed like a great comment to riff on.

Unfortunately, once I popped the CD [5] into my computer [6], it wouldn’t play. A quick inspection showed why: It appears that in the decade or so that I’ve had the disc, it cracked. I tried asking the person I got it from [7], but they don’t have another copy.

And that, unfortunately, is one of the corresponding hazards of accumulating too much stuff: While you may find that you have valuable things, some of them will naturally get lost or damaged.

I wonder if anyone else has a copy they’d be willing to share with me.

[1] No, not when he was an undergraduate. This event was long after he graduated.

[2] At least one of them has an Oscar.

[3] He doesn’t mention it, but he also took a road trip to Montreal to go to a conference where one of my students had an SRO talk. And he and the other students babysat my kids one evening. So my children can now say that they’ve been babysat by an Oscar Winner and a world-famous comedian [4].

[4] And other wonderful students, too.

[5] Or DVD or Data Disc.

[6] Well, into the external drive; Macs don’t come with internal drives any more.

[7] No, it was not Kumail.

Version 1.0 of 2019-07-25.