Stephen S. Hooley
All my life, people have told me I was crazy.
Sometimes they laugh and slap me on the back, sometimes they back away warily, looking for the exit.
But they all tell me I'm crazy.
Maybe they're right.
Let's look at the evidence. Well, for starters, I work in the library. You don't have to be crazy to work here but it helps. I help keep the computers running and keep up with software revisions and find solutions for problems students and staff run into. We get everything from printing troubles to stuck disks; unerasing floppy disks is one of our most in-demand abilities.
I've been at GSU nearly all my life, but that doesn't prove I'm crazy either. Both my parents taught here, and it was still called Georgia Teachers' College when they arrived. I went to Marvin Pittman School from K-12, and was in the next to the last graduating class. I went to Georgia Southern College, as it was called then, married the cutest girl I could find, and thirty years later we're still married; strong evidence that I'm not crazy. My wife and mother both taught English here at the same time; Mom's retired now and my wife works over at Ogeechee College. I took a quickie job unloading trucks at the campus food and supply warehouse, which turned into sixteen years of being first the head clerk, then the warehouse manager as we expanded and outgrew our original rooms at Landrum and built a new warehouse. Oh my gosh, I used to work for Auxiliary Services! Maybe I am crazy. Eventually I found the warehouse stifling and went back to school, and a student job turned into a full-time position. Georgia Southern: my family business. Both my parents' names are on the Builders of the University wall.
I've got multiple hobbies, as well as a wife and kid. There aren't even close to enough hours in the day. I've always been interested in music and photography and art and literature and poetry and electricity and, er, everything else. As a result, I know something about nearly everything, even if it's only how to look it up. I have nearly as many books as the library, and yes, I am looking for a bigger house. My son is a tv trivia nut who builds webpages, too, and is building a collection of DVDs. My wife is an author and poet who presents academic papers each year at a conference of teachers and writers interested in the fantastic. The guests include writers I've read since junior high. Donna and I have both contributed to the conference in different ways for eleven years.
I also do stuff like this.
In August of 1997, I got tired of looking at the crummy pictures sent back by the Mars Probe SOJOURNER. Using ray-tracing software, I was able to obtain Martian pictures easily as good as NASA's. Apparently a few search engines couldn't tell my Mars Probe "Southerner" from NASA's, and I got quite a few hits from people just surfing the web.
Dawn on Mars, as seen by my probe SciFi.com used to have a link to my web page, and I got a lot of strange email, but it all died down after a while.
So, does this settle whether I'm crazy or not? Who cares?
People twice as insane as I are in charge of cities, towns and countries all over the world. There's enough bombs, nerve gas, and plague already stockpiled to kill ten planets like this one, and factories are pouring more poison into the rivers every day. American politics is enough to make a cat laugh, and all over the world men in funny hats call us infidels. Even the cows are mad these days, and the birds have flu. The end of the world might be coming. Maybe I'm crazy to be happy with my wife and my son and my job and my art, music, and books, instead of living under a dark cloud of depression.
But I don't think so.