This has been a week to remember. In between dealing with getting my wife’s Dad hospice care, shuffling flight tickets for our trip back East, forgetting my computer, which forced me to do the Filler on my phone, and finding Bob, it has been one of those weeks I’ll likely remember for some time.
The “forgetting my computer” explains why I had to recycle an old graphic from one of my old posts about another mystery…Chester Dupree. But like I said, it has been one of those weeks. You make due…with what you have…and roll with the punches. Mysteries solved, often require adaptation.
As I prepare for another week of total unknowns, I know that adapting and altering plans is simply going to be the “new normal.” Right now, nothing is normal. In these times you just have to roll with the punches. Like Bob. He rolls with the punches. But, of course, I didn’t know that…until I found him. Which I did.
As it turns out, things with Bob are the kind of “weird” that makes a word like “weird” seem normal. And, what’s with that word anyway?? It’s supposed to be “I before E, except after C” in the English language. Except, apparently, when it isn’t…like with weird. Which is weird. But, I digress…
On to Bob.
This journey actually started a couple of years ago, when my daughter who was working in San Francisco at the time, told me that a good friend of hers was friends with one of the EA programmers for TSTO. And apparently, that when I had written a story a long time ago about Ali (the aforementioned daughter), he had become enamored of Ali, after seeing her picture. And furthermore, had admitted to her at a party they both attended, that the staff followed our blog, and “knew that her Dad was CrankyOldGuy,” and thought I was hilarious. It made me laugh…and yet, creeped me out that this random guy was enamored of my married daughter.
And there’s another weird English thing. Why is it “enamored of,” and not “enamored with?” Doesn’t make sense…but it is the rule…or the exception to the rule…or something. Weird.
Anyway…I had reached out to this guy back then, and he had responded cryptically, that because of the NDA he had signed with EA, he couldn’t really talk about the game. But that didn’t stop me from asking him questions…lots of questions…and trying to figure out how to meet him face to face. Which I never did…until well after I had named him “Bob.”
I can’t really even remember when I first started talking about “Bob.” I just started using him as the generic EA employee who programmed TSTO…especially after it became evident that they had cut back on their TSTO programming team. As in waaaaaaaay back.
But, it didn’t stop me from sending this guy regular emails, and asking questions. I figured that at the least, I would know if he left EA, a sign that the game was indeed going to end, if his emails started bouncing. They never did. And he never did. Which is how I was finally able to track him down this week.
It all started because my wife’s Dad, Ali’s grandpa, took a fall and ended up in the hospital a couple of weeks ago. He’s been fighting leukemia, and a fever made him pass out, fall, and hit his head on concrete. Not good. Ali had planned to come up, and was going to take this opportunity to drive up, so she could drive back, with a car loaded with the last of the things we have been storing here after she graduated, moved and got married. Here husband just got a new job, so he couldn’t come. I offered to fly down, and drive back with her.
Then I got an email. It was short…cryptic…and kind of rude.
Yes I know your name is Patric, but because you keep calling me “Bob,” calling you Cranky is fare. I know you think you are funny…but, you aren’t. the Bob thing is so played. Stop writing me. Leave me alone. I have enough trouble these days. Who told you about my other job? I’ll kick their butts and turn them in to HR if I find out. Stop. Just stop. It’s so lame.”
Well…the first thing that jumped out, was the Bob is a lousy speller. I’m pretty sure he meant to write that calling him Bob wasn’t fair. Not fare. But, that is a tiny error in this “auto-spell-check” world. I was more intrigued by the revelation that not only did he have another job on the side…but that it may actually be a job delivering pizza, or other home delivery meals.
It was time to pull in my “Dad chits,” and see if I could connect the dots.
What follows, and will follow in subsequent posts about this episode, is almost entirely true. I did change some names to protect those who needed protection. And yes…in the end…that even means Bob. Who may indeed, be the last remaining person on EA “staff,” who is programming TSTO. And yes…there is a reason that I placed quotation marks around the word “staff,” in the previous sentence. It implies that he may or may not be staff…or that there may or may not actually be a staff…or that he may or may not actually be on the “staff” at “Doordash,” one of the top rated home food delivery services in San Francisco. Or, I may just be “weird,” and like to use quotation marks like a millennial uses “rabbit ears” when talking, to let you know that what he is saying isn’t completely true. But, it is. True that is. Mostly. Except for the names.
The hunt begins…
Now…for all of you who don’t know what “Dad chits” are, let me explain. First, according to the dictionary, the word “chit” is defined as:
/CHit/ – noun
1. A short official note, memorandum, or voucher, typically recording a sum owed.
So…yes…Ali owed me a favor or two, or three…hence the word, “chit” as a reminder…and the word “Dad” meaning me…combined as “Dad chit.” While I never actually write down who owes whom what, it has been understood for years that owing Dad a favor, for a favor rendered, will create a virtual “Dad chit.” The fact is, I usually don’t ever call them in, (which is a gambling term for when a bookie comes to collect the money for all of the “IOU” chits he has written…don’t ask me how I know this). I am a Dad. I am happy to do things for my daughters. But as it turns out, finding Bob required me to call in my Dad chits, because Ali wanted nothing to do with the whole seedy affair.
And as it turned out…I don’t blame her.
I could bore you with useless details…about tracking him down through this friend, who as it turns out, owed Ali a chit or two. And how I found myself ordering home delivery from Doordash (in fact MANY deliveries, to get to the right guy), or how Ali, her friend and I, got to actually do one of those “AHA!! IT’S YOU!” moments when he finally arrived…and how hard it is to get a the remnants of a “Falafel Platter” (Ali’s friend is a Vegan) out of the carpet.
No…I won’t bore you with the details. But, I will tell you that when we finally got Bob to stop yelling, and got him settled down, and he revealed the reality about his work with EA, the future of TSTO, and how we have all come to playing a game that seems like it has been put on “Hospice Mode” for the past few months… well…it’s all a bit weird.
Suffice it to say, that it is a story worth telling. And I will tell it. Just not today.
I have stuff to do, that is going to take the rest of my day. And I need to try and figure out why all of my clothes smell like Falafel. It’s weird.