Thursday, June 30, 2022

Animated Thoughts: Erik Timmerman

As I've probably stated before, Erik didn't shy away from teaching me life lessons apart from what we learned in classes. And he was pretty honest about his mistakes, especially the occasional unintentional gaffe. One lesson that he spoke of, I really took to heart.

Erik was friends with one of the Computer Science professors who taught computer graphics. Although I don't remember her name at this point, she was the person whom I had met online back in the day and had introduced me to Erik. I had made an inquiry on a CGI BBS about furthering my studies in computer animation and she was the one who responded. After I replied to her e-mail, she said that Erik's program would be a better fit for what I wanted to do since her program was more geared to the hard-core programming end of computer graphic imagery--basically people who would end up becoming Technical Directors in the programming department of animation studios or doing scientific visualization, things of that nature.

Well, Erik mentioned that during a jovial conversation they once had, he made an off-the-cuff joke about having a crush on her. This was after it was made clear from the conversation that their senses of humor were pretty similar. As she was married, and he didn't have a thing for her anyways, it was obviously a joke. However, he felt that she kind of ghosted him after that. Erik stated how he wished he hadn't said that to her. And it wasn't a 'being unprofessional' thing, after all it was just a humorous remark told during a friendly conversation between two colleagues who were kidding around at the time. But he still felt pain over missing out on a good friendship because of how his remark may have given her the wrong impression.

Simply put: it was a moment of light-hearted humor that unfortunately cost him a friendship with a respected colleague.

I had a similar situation with an associate about a year later while I was still working at the R.I.T. Research Corporation. We were all joking around over lunch and she said something that set the table alight with laughter, something that showed how in tune our senses of humor were. I chuckled and said "if you weren't married I'd be chasing after you something fierce." She laughed, I laughed, and the conversations at the table moved on. However, remembering Erik's story, I went to her later that day just to set the record straight--that I wasn't hitting on her, I just appreciated how in-sync our senses of humor happened to be. She laughed it off and said it was okay, she knew exactly what I meant. And I believe her as we remained friends/professional acquaintances throughout the rest of my time at the RITRC.

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