The heart of the matter


The heart of the matter

When I was little my father disappeared off the face of the Earth, leaving me with my mother and assembled family. What could have been a pretty tragic set up turned out quite nicely for me. The family house was always busy, with my Grandpa and my uncle John there to look after me almost all the time. Except for my grandpa passing away back in ’89, most of the family is still close and intact.

In my younger years my uncle filled my head with ideas of rockets and space travel – the sort of thing that had been going on through the sixties when he was a teenager. He’d encourage me to watch Star Trek, Blakes’ 7, and Tomorrow’s World – a good mix of sci-fi and emerging technology – and tell me all about things like the race to the moon, for example. He bought me my first chemistry set and threw the manual to one side, showing me all sorts of experiments he’d done at school that were much more interesting than making crappy crystals over six week periods.

To say he enriched my young life would be an understatement. As I grew older and walks to the park with my uncle evolved into trips to the pub, his input and conversation became valuable in a different way. In fact, our Tuesday night sessions only came to an end when I moved to London two years ago. If not for that I’d probably be in the bar with him right now discussing matter transfer or the possibility of anti-gravity, while the rest of the patrons talk football.

Actually, it turns out that even if I was back in Scotland at the moment, we wouldn’t be in the pub at all. Hence the point of the above. A week and a half ago my uncle calls me and tells me that he is going in for heart surgery. Wow.

Ok, nowadays they do that kind of operation pretty routinely… but, you know, not to my uncle they don’t. So on Thursday night I cant get to sleep thinking about it – what if something has gone wrong, or whatever – you know, the usual soap opera worry stuff. So Friday I call the hospital and they tell me he’s in intensive care and they will be moving him to the high dependancy unit.

What is that? Is that good or bad? I asked the nurse. Turned out it was a good thing. Regardless, all through Saturday and Sunday I’m still bothered about the lack of news. Then on Sunday night I get a call and it’s him! Fantastic – he’s pretty breathless and he sounds a bit out of it, but he starts talking about the machines he’s hooked up to and how techno it all looks.

That’s when I know he’s ok and I’m so relieved.

So here I am – working in the video games industry and using a world wide network of computers to tell whoever cares to know that I was worried about my uncle. And the reason I am where I am today is probably because of the things he planted in my mind when I was little. And that’s cool, I think – really cool.

In all the time he had me thinking about where I was going – where we are going – now seemed like the perfect time to acknowledge where I had come from. Thanks uncle John!