Symbols Bring It Back Home

By Mike Maddaloni on Saturday, December 13, 2008 at 04:00 AM with 6 comments

(Editor’s note: This blog post was written back in September, 2008 but just found. I believe my thoughts from that time resonate today.)

photo of Finlandia vodkaI am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason. We may never know what that reason is in this mortal coil, but whether it is a supreme being or just gravitational pull, I think there is more going on beyond me. I am reminded of this on occasion by various “symbols” I experience on my journeys.

Several years ago my lovely girlfriend (now my lovely wife) and I had the good fortune to camp out on the floor of the Atlanta airport. As the sun rose over the red panels of the concourses, I was in a less than joyous mood. As ice storms grounded many planes, we were in good company, and getting a connection flight back home was near impossible, and made impossible by the less than stellar customer service reps. As I was stewing and pacing around the terminal, something caught my eye that changed my disposition. What did it take? A kiosk promoting AT&T’s then WorldNet dial-up Internet service. Splashed on the screen of the kiosk was a Web page to order a CD for the service – a Web page I created! Was it my ego taking over as there was my handiwork out there for others to see and use? Probably, as the visual aspect of the Web is part of what drove me to it and away from boring mainframe application development. This little kiosk was a symbol that helped my attitude, which was made better soon after as I got my flight home.

Yesterday, as I returned from a trip to Boston, I was a little overwhelmed. Highs were seeing family and friends and the Patriots win. Lows were being away from my newborn daughter, my lovely wife, some family ills and witnessing Tom Brady going down for what may be the season. Even after comforting words from my wife, I was still wound-up as I awaited my flight home. Once on-board, I ordered a vodka tonic. When it arrived, it proved to be yet another symbol. The vodka was Finlandia. In 2 days I will be in the Finnish capital of Helsinki for the Nokia OpenLab along with 35 others from around the world. This little nip bottle, pictured here, again helped my perspective.

Interestingly, that flight from Boston to Chicago connected through Atlanta.

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