This started as a running joke...
I've always tried to find a way to describe my eccentricity
to others, usually to no avail. My way of solving problems,
of thinking and creating, of seeing the world, are so
fundamentally different from nearly all my friends. So, I often
found myself trying to describe how my mind worked...and usually
managed to confuse my friends further.
The way I think has a lot of advantages...but it has its
challenges as well. For one thing, I tend to solve programming
problems from binary-up, not abstractions-down as
most programmers do. This is usually an advantage, but it also
means I'm prone to miss the obvious at times.
Then, while watching My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic
(my favorite show...I offer no apologies), I happened across
The familiarity was not lost on me. This was literally my
first instinct on simple problems.
The pony in question, Doctor Whooves, was named thus by fans
who recognized his resemblance to the 10th Doctor Who
(David Tennant); the animators of the series made that joke
official in this episode.
That led me to start watching Doctor Who, something I'd only
seen in passing prior. Before long, I started to see a striking
resemblance between the Doctor and my own personality.
I found that "time lord" was a handy shorthand way of introducing
my eccentric mind to the world.
Bigger On The Inside...█
I was fairly content with letting "time lord" stand as a
running joke, but it was about to take on a much deeper meaning.
I've had two significant head injuries in my
life: one at age two, and one at age sixteen. Both fundamentally
altered my personality, my abilities, my strengths, and my
Before age sixteen, I was decent at math (although
I hated it with a passion), but I could not understand
programming to save my life. I much preferred the natural
sciences, and had intended to go into the medicine.
Then, at the end of my sophomore year of high school, I fell
down a staircase in our house and hit my head on the bannister.
I suffered a "grade three" traumatic brain injury, going from
college-level reading and a straight 4.0 GPA to failing pre-K
level material. It took four years of hard work to regain my
abilities and graduate high school. I soon discovered that my
proficiency in the natural sciences was gone. Chemistry and
biology were now a struggle. Even today, I deal with
some lingering deficits from the head injury.
Yet, somewhere in the midst of my recovery, I found that I
loved math...and it loved me back. Algebra and pre-calculus
just made sense. A desire to make educational
software led me to try programming again, and this time it stuck.
I learned three different languages in the course of a year.
Programming was like breathing! I had discovered that, since the
head injury, I had gained the ability to visualize in
six dimensions (yes, seriously), and to work out complex
problems in my mind.
In mid-2018, it struck me: because of the brain
injuries, I have practically regenerated twice!
My core identify has never changed, but how that
expresses itself in my personality and abilities has.
I discovered shortly after that revelation that I enjoyed
wearing bow ties (which really are cool). Yet that fashion
statement is more than just a reflection of my eccentricity.
It has given me a basis to tell my story, which continues to
inspire many people I meet.