Coding Horror

programming and human factors

Spawning a New Process

I don't usually talk about my personal life here, but I have to make an exception in this case.

f.etus, 13 weeks, 1 day

I debated for days which geeky reference I would use as a synonym for "we're having a baby". The title is the best I could do. I'm truly sorry.

As an aside, this is something my wife and I have worked at for a number of years, and was only truly possible through the Miracle of Sciencetm. Despite the best of intentions, you really start to resent all those teenage couples who manage to get pregnant so awkwardly and accidentally. Oh, that's right! You have sex! It's so obvious in retrospect!

Not that managing to procreate is anything special compared to programming. Just ask the inestimable Richard Stallman:

It doesn't take special talents to reproduce -- even plants can do it. On the other hand, contributing to a program like Emacs takes real skill. That is really something to be proud of.

It helps more people, too.

At any rate, I'm looking forward to stocking our unborn child's mind with all my insane, crazy ideas. I think Dave Eggers said it best in A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, describing a road trip he took with his younger brother after the death of his parents:

His brain is my laboratory, my depository. Into it I can stuff the books I choose, the television shows, the movies, my opinion about elected officials, historical events, neighbors, passersby. He is my twenty-four-hour classroom, my captive audience, forced to ingest everything I deem worthwhile. He is a lucky, lucky boy! And no one can stop me. He is mine, and you cannot stop me, cannot stop us. Try to stop us, you pu**y! You can't stop us from singing, and you can't stop us from making fart sounds, from putting our hands out the window to test the aerodynamics of different hand formations, from wiping the contents of our noses under the front of our seats.

We cannot be stopped from looking with pity upon all the world's sorry inhabitants, they unblessed by our charms, unchallenged by our trials, unscarred and thus weak, gelatinous. You cannot stop me from telling Toph to make comments about and faces at the people in the next lane.

It's unfair. The matchups, Us. v. Them (or you) are unfair. We are dangerous. We are daring and immortal. Fog whips up from under the cliffs and billows over the highway. Blue breaks from beyond the fog and sun suddenly screams from the blue.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that, with any luck, he or she will be scarred for life. That's a proud family tradition where I come from.

Written by Jeff Atwood

Indoor enthusiast. Co-founder of Stack Overflow and Discourse. Disclaimer: I have no idea what I'm talking about. Find me here: