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My mom died when I was 7, after which my dad bought me a Commodore 64 so I had something to lose myself in during the mourning process.

I learned everything about that system, from my first GOTO statement to sprite buffers, to soldering my own EPROM cartridges. My dad didn't deal with the loss so well, and became a missing person 5 years later when I was 12.

I got into foster care with a bunch of strict religious cultists who wouldn't allow electronics in the house.

So I ran away at 14, sub-rented a closet in a student apartment using my orphan benefits and bought a secondhand IBM computer. I spent about 16 hours a day learning about BSD and Linux, C, C++, Fortran, ADA, Haskell, Livescript and even more awful things like Visual Basic, ASP, Windows NT, and Active Directory.

I faked my ID (back then it was just a laminated sheet of paper), and got a job at 15-pretending-to-be-17 at one of the first ISPs in my country. I wrote the firmware and admin panel for their router, full of shitty CGI-bin ASP code and vulnerabilities.

That somehow got me into a job at Microsoft, building the MS Office language pack for my country, and as an official "conflict resolver" for their shitty version control system. Yes, they had fulltime people employed just to resolve VCS conflicts.

After that I worked at Arianespace (X-ray NDT, visualizing/tagging dicom scans, image recognition of faulty propellant tank welds), and after that I switched to biotech, first phytogenetics, then immunology, then pharmacokynetics.

In between I have grown & synthesized and sold large quantities of recreational drugs, taken care of some big felines, got a pilot license, taught IT at an elementary school, renovated a house, and procreated.

A lot of it was to prove myself to the world -- prove that a nearly-broke-orphan-high-school-dropout could succeed at life.

But hey, now I work for a "startup", so I guess I failed after all.

Comments
  • 29
    But hey, now I work for a "startup", so I guess I failed after all.

    😂

    Good story, and good on you. Enjoyed that read.
  • 19
    Holy cow. That's a wild ride
  • 14
    your name is always too perfect for your stories...
  • 9
    You inspire me bro.

    lol-ed at the last line. Lots to learn from you on perseverance and not giving up.
  • 5
    Great story. If i may ask, did you get any update about the father?
  • 1
    What a fucking legend
  • 16
    @zemaitis Yeah he turned up in the Pyrenees when I was 20, he had lived there for years in a mountain hut. He used to be a navy officer in his youth, so after he suffered a memory loss because of a dissociative psychosis he just went full-on into survival mode. Apparently he got the psychosis driving on the highway, and in a paranoid state he had just kept on driving south away from civilization.

    He still suffers from some memory loss. I do still have contact with him -- he's 81 now, writes really awful science fiction books, and is remarried with a lovely painter woman who takes great care of him.

    He thinks his psychosis was induced by poisoning because of things he did during the cold war (my mother actually died of poisoning, most likely for that reason) -- but I have no way of verifying that... ironically enough, his claim might be just an effect of trauma/paranoia after my mom died.
  • 4
    @bittersweet mann you are so awesome. And it looks like the fighter genes runs strong in your family. Keep hustling
  • 11
    This story is so incredible that it's hard to believe its true. In fact it's so incredible it's hard to believe it's fake either as no one could make that up. Planning to write a book about it yet?
  • 1
  • 1
    Fuck that foster care place dude
  • 2
    @Nanos wow, a tech series that i haven't yet seen. Thanks for this. Any other cool series that i could watch?
  • 1
    Well. Fucking. Done.
  • 3
    You've lived a full life tho.

    Also, failure is subjective. Did you get what/where you wanted? if yeah, how's that a failure?
  • 9
    @NoMad Yeah I actually feel quite happy currently.

    The only thing left to prove is to my tiny daughter: That optimism deserves a chance even though the world often seems like a fucked up place, and that her father unconditionally loves her and will always be there for her.

    I can make sure she benefits from some of my life experience, while hopefully offering her a more stable and supportive home.

    I know she'll probably make a bunch of stupid mistakes of her own and that's fine.

    But no matter what, she'll have a dad who will cook her a dinner, listen to her worries and fight for her dreams and happiness until his last breath.
  • 1
    @yowhatthefuck

    Ones I've watched and can recommend are:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/...

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/...

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/...

    I haven't watched this yet:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Devs

    You might also like:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/...

    I'm the spitting image of Alec Sadler..

    Who for some reason seems to wear the same wardrobe as I did..

    You might also like:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/...

    And maybe:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/...
  • 5
    @Nanos Big bang theory 🤢

    The amount of times the show hollowed out genuinely interesting situations & topics for cheap "haha nerds being nerds, am I right?" laughs...

    And then there's the ridiculous amount of misogynistic jokes and creepy behavior covered in a context of "but they're geeks, so it's cute.
  • 3
    @bittersweet not to mention the unnecessary racism, but hey, different times. I enjoyed Big Bang Theory because I accepted the fact that it was for non-nerds. Us true nerds have our own shows, books, games, etc. And devRant.
  • 1
    Thanks for sharing your story. Wrap it up in a few more words and you could publish one or more articles, write a book or become a motivational speaker.

    Not that you want that, probably, but maybe.
  • 1
    That's the total opposite of family support lol. But I just can say wow. Like I felt mediocre lol.
  • 1
    @eeee

    > Us true nerds have our own shows,

    Such as ?
  • 3
    @Nanos

    Firefly
    Original Star Trek
    Original Star Wars
    The entire anime genre in countries other than Japan
    Etc.

    Basically, the things that the characters in BBT like, but are never really shown
  • 6
    @Nanos I don't know, Doctor Who, Battlestar Galactica, Star Trek... If I'm in the mood for something lighter, Futurama Adventure Time, Steven Universe?

    I prefer real nerds writing a show over fake nerds acting a show.

    And actually, yes, I find a show like Archer also entertaining — which has a fair share of caricatures and "edgy jokes".

    The problem is not that I'm some PC snowflake who's easily triggered, it's the way the plot handles actions, and especially consequences.

    Leonard doesn't grow a spine through character development. No, throughout the show he's an insufferable whiney cuck who simply wears down a bimbo into sleeping with him, after which they turn into the most depressing, uninspiring semi-alcoholic chubby couple ever.

    Raj has severe anxiety — a fucking relatable topic which you could explore in so many inspiring ways. No, instead the plot awards him the super power of overcoming his problems by turning into a sexually harassing drunk.

    So, I think the biggest insult of TBBT is that they don't use interesting personalities to tell a compelling, relatable story — instead they gloss over pretty immense character flaws just to endlessly milk the same jokes out of it.
  • 0
    @bittersweet

    FX [ Nods in sad agreement. ]
  • 0
  • 0
    Switch to bio-tech is interesting, i am looking for that too.
  • 0
    Write a book dude
  • 2
    @hardfault Would only recommend it if you go for bioinformatics.

    A lot of pharmaceutical research and analytical chemistry is quickly moving to full automation now — labs are literally just sealed containers with a Python SDK.

    https://youtu.be/L1UgdoP2aeg

    The pharma company where I worked went from 450 employees in one city to 17 in just three years — and what's left are not people in labcoats, they're mainly developers.
  • 1
    @bittersweet mainly interested in computational genetics and oncology
  • 1
    Movie when
  • 0
    How in the world do you own "some big felines"? are you some kind of drug lord on the side or something..

    That aside, this is an amazing story
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