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My second stepfather died this week. If I am doing the math right he was 57. There's no need to offer me condolence. I'll take it as read. Sadly the news wasn't a surprise, though it was a shock. He had diabetes, and had the misfortune to have chosen a good field; for the late '70s. Problem was, by the mid-nineties, there weren't so many mainframe computer systems for him to operate.

So he was unemployed. Had to move in with his sister for a few years. I don't want to make this political, but part of the reason he's dead at 53 is that being black isn't the best thing for one's health in the US.

I lived with him from 11 to 15. Formative years. Some of who I am, how I look at things, are things he taught me. He thought I was too quiet, a bit too meek. We lived in a less than swell part of town. He thought I moved like a target. I don't know how much of the way I am not seen as a target is because of his telling me I had to keep my eyes up, and my head on a swivel.

I do know that when I was in college, and a black kid tried to intimdate me at a party it didn't go the way he expected it to. Yeah, it was a white part of town, and I am a slightly built guy, but his being black didn't matter to me. That I wasn't scared of him hung him up, and the fight he wanted to start didn't happen; which caused him to leave the party.

On a lark he and another friend decided to go get steak tartare one evening. So they got dressed up enough to be let into the sorts of place which serve it. They would ask the maître d' if the place served steak tartare. They then asked if they could get it well done.

It wasn't until something like the eighth one that the maître d' looked at them and said, "If Messieurs desire their steak well done, they shall have it well done." They said it was the best burger they'd ever had, and worth not the trouble, but every penny they spent on it.

I saw him last about a year ago. We had a good catching up. He was, in a quiet way, proud of me; I could list worse accomplishments.

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pecunium

May 2016

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