A FEW YEARS AGO, while looking out at the intramural practise fields of the USAF Academy with Ruth (at left), I wondered where some of my former roommates were. Within a year of snapping a set of photos from the Academy grounds, I'd connected with most of the 16 different men that I met before I snored. A lot of them were findable on Zoomie Nation, some on LinkedIn
and a few on Facebook. Most of them follow ZoomieNews
, an e-mail newsletter that covers the high points of careers. Sometimes the news would be tragic but until today, none of those news sources delivered details of a death of a roommate.
I knew Rick from age 18. Together, we helped win 72 intercollegiate forensics trophies in a single year. We did better against university debate teams than our football team did on the playing pitch. With impunity, we would miss up to 30% of our academic lectures while traveling west to California and east to New England. Rick was born with academic intelligence. He helped me through some very intense electronic engineering courses, even showing me how to assemble an oscilloscope. He also showed me how to expedite card punches during a foundation course in computer science. In the 70s, you needed card decks to make computers run. Rick's expertise allowed him to be detailed as part of the Mainframe's Fire Watch, where he figured out how to build a modem and how to display directories containing bank records and sensitive academic materials. We didn't talk about those inadvertent discoveries.