Mike Maloney

My Biography. By Mike Maloney, BioFables 

Well, now. Where to begin?

I was an airplane pilot in the Air Force. The feeling of taking the controls of a machine to defy the laws of gravity, there’s nothing like it.

After the service, I went to school on the GI Bill and studied software engineering. Seems like I have a knack for the logic of building software applications, just like I did with flying an airplane.

Bridget and I got married right after I graduated from college. She was the love of my life. When our son Mort was born, I thought I’d explode with happiness. A growing family, enjoyable and fulfilling work, it was a good life. My career was taking off when an acquaintance approached me about starting our own software business. Sure! I had set some money aside for lean times, so why not?

That was the second-best decision of my life (after proposing to Bridget, who said “yes” almost too quickly). My business partner soon tired of entrepreneurship, so I bought out his share and he returned to the comfort and safety of a steady paycheck. I worked hard and built a solid business. Then Bridget got sick. The business pretty much took care of itself, so I was able to be with Bridget as much as she would allow. But the cancer was stronger than both of us, and she passed away when Mort was just 13.

With Bridget gone, I worked night and day on the business. Meanwhile, kindly, generous neighbors watched after Mort. I’m now ashamed to say that I sadly neglected Mort when he probably most needed his father’s presence and guidance. Thanks to a docile nature and to those practical neighbors and caring teachers, Mort turned out just fine. No, he’s much more than just fine. And that’s not due to much thanks to me. He married the most wonderful woman I can imagine, after Bridget of course. Aggie is a delight. Charming, practical, energetic, talented…I could go on. I consider her the daughter I never had.

My business kept growing in both size and profitability. It eventually attracted the attention of the biggest company in the industry. They made me a buyout offer I couldn’t refuse, after a bit of heavy-duty negotiating on both sides, that is. I stayed on to make sure everything ran smoothly and then I retired to “enjoy life” — as so many retirees say.

But all that unstructured time on my hands led to my thinking about how much of Mort’s childhood I missed or neglected. And what good were those buyout and retirement funds doing for me (or for anyone else for that matter)?  There was plenty left over after donating to a whole list of charities and other organizations. Why not make up for lost time with Mort by helping him and his family spend some time exploring the world outside their immediate community? It’s said that travel is broadening. Monthly mini-trips seemed to be like a good place to start. Agnes protested, but Mort finally convinced her that these outings would be good for their children. For my grandchildren! That did the trick.

I’m as proud of my grandkids as I am of my own son and his wife. Maybe even more so. Melody seems to have a particular resistance against heat and her twin brother, Mallory, against cold. The twins told me about Melody’s close encounter with “Old Faceful” during their first trip, to Yellowstone National Park. Except no one believed them. I observed Mallory’s close encounter with a sub-zero meat locker on the next month’s trip to a relative’s farm. They didn’t tell anybody, but I partially saw what happened and put two and two together. If Mel and Mal were bacteria, they’d be called extremophiles.

By the time their third trip rolled around, to the Indiana Dunes, I realized how out of shape I was and resolved to take Aggie’s advice to eat better and get some exercise before I turned into a marshmallow! She and Mort both begged me to come with them, but I knew better than to try mimicking a desert camel. Maybe I’ll be ready for the next trip. We’ll see.