24 hours ago, my summer ended.
A lot of you know why. On Sunday, June 19, 2011, two of my favorite does decided to have their litters of kits at nearly exactly the same time. Bess, a Grand Champion doe who has the sweetest personality I've seen of a doe in my life, and Liz -- Elizabeth Regina to you -- had a total of nine kits on that Sunday afternoon.
Exactly one lived to see Tuesday morning.
Every one of Bess' six kits was stillborn, and because Liz wasn't lactating immediately, two of her three kits died of dehydration.
One tough motherfucker lived through it all. I hand-fed him that Monday night, and thanks to medication, Liz, his mother, lactated enough to keep him alive through that week, and the next, and the next.
His name was Sol. That's short for SM Solistice Survivor, and had he gotten older, he would have had the ear number SMJ01.
He died last night. Today, he would have been five weeks old.
I've spent 31 years in the IT business now. I get fiery about things I believe in. Some of you have seen it, or read about it. A few of you have worked with me when I've gotten fiery. Some others have seen the aftermath. A very few of y'all have been with me in my personal life and seen the fire. Some others of you have helped me when I didn't see the spark any more.
Sol taught me things about me in 34 days that I forgot I knew. That little moosey face, those big, awkward ears, that little nose, those gawky legs trying to find their way around the hutch, reminded me that what I do, what I know, what I can do, can literally make the difference between life and death for someone.
And there wasn't a fucking line of code involved.
I'm in a transition in my life. I've always been able to separate "what I do for money" from "what I really do." And what I do for money has never mattered as much as what I've done in the last 34 days. Even if, in a pessimistic way, everything I did was for naught, because Sol isn't here to romp on my keyboard and eat my flannel pillowcases. Still, the transition point is there. Everything I do after today is going to have to stand up to the test of, "if I fuck up, will something die, and if I do it perfectly, will something live that might not have lived otherwise?"
I can never pass that test. In fact, I've already failed it on both sides. I did the best I could for Sol. I did the best I could for Bea. And Seven. And Four. And Guenther. And Estrellita, and Curious George and Dusk. And all of Bess' and Wendy's lost kits. And Tucker and Tess and Data and Boris and Mary and Emma and Henry and Simba and all the cats. I did the best I could. It wasn't enough.
They're gone now. Liz, Bess, Nathan, Bert, Margaret, Katie, Max, Sam, Lily, Grace and William are still here. And I'm still here.
And I am fucking fierce. And I have thumbs.
I received my new business cards the other day. My official title is "wabbit wrestler." At the bottom, the cards say, "oh, and Domino stuff too, but the wabbits come first."
And they do. I realized this morning that they always should. And should have.
The more I talk to stupid humans, the more I like my wabbits, and the greater my ire at humans who think humans are the best thing Nature ever thought up. As a long-time human, I can assure you, we're not. Seriously, we're not. Wabbits aren't, either, of course, but they have no illusions about it. And they're much friendlier than most humans, and much more vulnerable. Mostly... to humans.
My for-money job is still writing code so that humans can ignore other humans more efficiently. Pay me, I'll write the code, build and administer the systems to run that code, and help stupid humans figure out that the code does what the code does, regardless of what humans think the code is supposed to do.
My real job, as of 6am on July 23, 2011, is to make a good home for a small population of majestic giant wabbits. Concurrent with that duty is the duty to protect those big, friendly wabbits from idiot humans who think humans are the best thing ever invented. All the skills I've learned in half a century of having to deal with humans will now go into protecting those wabbits from these same idiot humans, while trying to find good homes among the non-idiot humans for more of these big, gentle moosewabbits.
It's not gonna be easy. I am going to lose more good wabbits, because they're fragile and the world isn't easy for any living thing. And I will continue to learn and do my best for them, and over time, my best will get better.
But I'm staking out my ground on their behalf, and if you fucking cross me -- if you even make a move to threaten these big wabbits -- I will shove a tire iron up your fucking nose until it comes out the back of your head, and I will let the possums come and eat your brains. Believe me, I've met them, and the possums think brains taste better than crickets and grubs.
I doubt anyone has ever felt this way about code, no matter how much they got paid to write it.
One little moosey wabbit like Sol is worth more to me now than 92% of all the humans I've ever met. I'd give most of your lives or mine to get him back right now.