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I Test… Therefore Software Works!

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Why did I become a Software Tester?  It was an epiphany really.

Ever since I was a wee lad, I wanted to be a Maine fisherman.  I’m actually from a small island off the coast of Maine.  Well technically it’s not an island anymore since they built a road to it. 

My father, born and raised on the island, would always fill me with romantic stories of growing up on the island and working on the boats.  He enlisted in the Air Force after graduating from high school.  He married my Mom and a year later I was born.  During his 20-something year career, we moved around a lot.  Typically far from Maine.  We would go home every now and then for “Old Home Week” – the island’s week-long Fourth of July celebration.  I followed in my Dad’s footsteps and enlisted in the Air Force right after high school.  My dream, after I retired from the Air Force, was to return home to Maine and be a fisherman.  Deep sea fishing. 

For our “honeymoon” I took my new blushing bride home to Maine for the Forth.  I remember it like it was yesterday.  As we approached the “island” from the mainland, the fog was just lifting, the setting sun glowed orange off of the old white houses on the hillside (shacks really).  It was picture perfect.  Like a picture in a calendar.  The following morning we would be on the fishing boat – I was down right giddy!

We got up really early the next morning.  Even though it was July, the air was crisp and cool.  Steam was gently rising off of my freshly brewed cup of coffee.  There was a thick blanket of fog on the water.  You could hear seagulls somewhere in the distance.  It was perfect!  I boarded the boat ready to experience what my future held.

Reality set in about the time the coffee ran out.  The fog lifted after about an hour and it was hot and muggy.  The lifting fog also released the stench of dead fish.  The seagulls were starting to get annoying.  They smelled the dead herring and were circling the boat looking for food.  We were dodging seagull poop.  The tide was out adding a special aroma to the mix.  We were gagging on diesel smoke.  I spent the first hour or so helping my Dad bait the novice fishermen’s hooks with dead, rotting, slimy herring.  My clothes reeked.  And there was still 4 hours to go! 

The only thing we caught after 5 of the longest hours of my life was a squid.  My new wife caught it.  She didn’t really catch it.  It had the misfortune of swimming by just as she was reeling in her line.  She just kinda snagged its head.  The girls all screamed.  No one wanted to touch it.  So my Dad (who I swear was the model for the Gorton’s fisherman) volunteered to unhook it.  It wrapped its tentacles around his arm and used its sticky sucker-thingys to hang on to him for dear life.  He eventually peeled it off and returned it to the bay.  Somewhat traumatized by the ordeal, and with the exception of having once had a huge fishing hook in its head, the squid was pretty much unharmed.

After the squid ordeal, I looked up as we slowly sailed past the island.  I found myself jealous of the lucky islanders in their cozy cottages up on the hill, eating a nice hot breakfast. I longed to be back in my nice soft bed, snuggled up against my new wife, or sprawled out on the couch watching television with the smell of sizzling bacon wafting through the house.  I have no clue who would have been cooking it, but that’s not important right now.

I couldn’t wait to get off that stupid boat!  Needless to say, that was my last fishing trip. 

A week later we returned to Colorado.  On the flight home I pondered my future career aspirations.  Whatever I decided to do was going to be indoors, temperature controlled, and not reek of fish.  I hate fish  I don’t even want an aquarium!  It’s been almost thirty years and I haven’t been fishing since.

So here I am – a Software Tester.  I couldn’t be happier!


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