Monday, March 21, 2005

Paul Fortnow (1937-1980)

My father passed away 25 years ago today. I thought I would share some of the lessons I learned from him.
  • Once you win an argument, stop arguing.
  • Always play to win. He would always take a handicap and play his hardest rather than dumb down his play particularly in chess, his favorite game.
  • When he went to college, the engineers measured their prowess in the number of digits of precision they could get from their slide rules. I guess he didn't get enough digits as he gave up engineering and eventually went into marketing.
  • The extra character in a movie that seems to serve no purpose is the one that committed the murder.
  • He said "When you grow up and drive you can choose the radio station." Like my daughters let me get away with that.
  • Nixon really was a crook.
  • Given enough money, there is nothing anyone won't do.
  • He meticulously taught me how to keep score in baseball as this is a skill every American should know. He then told me never to keep score as it distracts from the game.
  • The two course he regretted not taking in college were art and music appreciation. So I took art appreciation in my first year. Big mistake. For the record the two courses I wish I took were economics and mathematical logic.
Dad, if you are surfing the net from the great beyond know that I miss you and my family, including the daughter-in-law and granddaughters you never met, think of you often. And your Red Sox finally won the World Series.


  1. "surfing the net from the great beyond"

    That's great! The blogsphere equivalent to "if you're see me now" and etc. :)

  2. I know this is in poor taste, but can't resist:

    Make sure to check the weblogs in a couple of weeks. If your father does stop by, do let us know. I think many of us would think it quite nifty to have an IP address for heaven (and to find out which browser they're using up there!).

  3. As the wife of this wonderful man whom his son writes about, I read this with a big smile and some wistfulness. He adored his sons and was very proud of them. One of his favorite life quotes was from the novel, "The Lion In Winter" which went:
    "Nothing affects a man so powerfully as what he thinks about himself."
    He really believed in that.

  4. As Paul Fortnow's little sister, I hope that Lance tells his girls stories about their grandfather that will make them smile and know they missed knowing someone very special who would have loved them so.

  5. I'm very moved by all your comments and memories. Paul was my friend as well as my brother. He was a devoted father and would have continued to be very proud of Lance & Mathew. Paul would have enjoyed Lance's beautiful family, being a loving father-in-law to Marcy and an adoring grandfather to Annie and Molly.