An 11-year-old asks her grandfather how computer games are made and he tells her they’re created by programmers “using complex mathematical code.” The next thing he knows, she’s learning Python on her own, and getting her chums involved too.
The Heart of Linux
“Grandpa, can you fix my computer?”
My granddaughter’s face beamed back at me via the Google Hangout she triggered. She bit her lip while I finished the task I had been doing when she showed up on my screen.
“Depends baby. What did you do to break it?”
I met her gaze via the webcam and she wiggled uncomfortably, weighing the different ways she might phrase her answer.
“Well, I was sitting on the floor and when I stood up, my foot got tangled up in the cord plugged into the sockets on my desk and the black power thingy fell and broke my screen.”
Actually, my daughter had already texted me about this and told me how much Karen had cried because she broke the laptop grandpa bought her for graduating on the honor roll. She had what my daughter called “a Karen Moment.” Not breaking the stuff their grandpas buy them is important to 12-year-old-girls.
I didn’t chide or scold. I told her to tell her mom to mail the laptop to me and I would fix it. She could pick it up when she came to visit us next Sunday. As I promised, she left with it last Sunday, happy as a 12-year-old child can be and she promised not to break it again. I kissed her on the head and told her that was fine. Little does she know that her grandpa would charge the gates of hell with a bucket of water for her.
Ken Starks is the founder of the Helios Project and Reglue, which for 20 years provided refurbished older computers running Linux to disadvantaged school kids, as well as providing digital help for senior citizens, in the Austin, Texas area. He was a columnist for FOSS Force from 2013-2016, and remains part of our family. Follow him on Twitter: @Reglue