Mort Maloney

My Biography. By Mort Maloney, BioFables 

I am an only child. Mom died when I was just entering my teens. Dad was really saddened by Mom’s death. They were so much in love, and her loss was very hard on him. Harder than on me, in a way, although losing a parent is never easy for a kid. Dad buried his sorrow in his work and tried to build up his business so “we’d never have to worry about putting food on the table,” as he said.

That’s true enough. But he was also frugal. More than he needed to be, I always thought. But Dad also said that he didn’t want to spoil me by buying everything I wanted. I guess what I wanted more than anything was to spend time with my Dad. But you can’t have everything, can you? I was well taken care of by really great neighbors, so I can’t complain.

I suppose I was lonely, though. That’s why I took to writing poetry. It wasn’t great poetry. In fact, it wasn’t even good poetry. But writing took my mind off of my loneliness in the evenings when Dad was working late. People say that writing is a good habit to develop, even if it’s only for yourself. It must have helped, though, because I have to say that I turned out okay.

After graduating from college, I got a job as a food chemist. It’s funny how sometimes your first job influences the rest of your career. In my case, I can’t think of a better occupation to have. Food is vital for life, and so many different areas are involved, from agriculture and bugs to formulating good taste and texture. Research and development seems to be in my genes. Dad’s work in software could also be considered research and development. You have to start out understanding what it is you want to accomplish with your software program (that’s the research part), and then build the program so that it works without taking up too much memory and doesn’t have any bugs. (That was an intended pun)

I met Agnes at a trade show. She probably told you about that. For me, it was love at first sight. I’m not so sure about her. It didn’t take us long to figure out that the chemistry (sorry, another pun) was pretty good between us, so we got married less than six months after we met…just enough time to alert Agnes’s family in Colorado so that they could attend our wedding.

Husbandhood (is that a word?) and fatherhood a few years after that  rank highest in importance to me. My work as a chemist ranks high as well, because chemistry is also a tool to inspire curiosity in our children. We were fortunate enough to meet a microbiologist during our first trip, to Yellowstone National Park (Book 1, Whoosh). She was kind enough to explain the mysteries of pH and how molecules of steam are much farther apart than molecules of water (among other mysteries). I was pleasantly surprised to watch how Melody and Mallory soaked up information from a stranger that I would have considered to be well above their abilities to understand. They took notes and even shared their new-found knowledge with my Dad when we returned own. Amazing!

The science aspects of that first trip were a good preparation for our next trip, to Aggie’s cousin’s farm in southern Illinois (Book 2, E-I-E-I-Uh Oh). Can you believe that our 7-year-old twins were fascinated to learn about groundwater? They also got to see a whole skyful of stars and got a lesson on milking cows. Melody also learned how not to milk a cow — by squirting her brother.

By the way, my friends and colleagues know that I am a bit of an enthusiast for the latest automotive technologies, especially when they address pollution issues. A 300-mile drive one way can generate a big carbon footprint, and I was feeling just a little guilty (I didn’t really think about airplane pollution during our first trip, because I wasn’t “driving” the plane). A couple of days before we were to leave, I got a text asking if I was interested in a long test-drive (600 miles round-trip). Sure! The catch? Write a report on everying I could think of about the fuel-cell car within a week of returning from the farm. Fuel cells aren’t exactly known for their long-distance capability. Same with electrics. “Range anxiety” it’s called. This one promised to be different.

Oops, sorry. I got off on a tangent. This is supposed to be a biography, not an explanation of technology. I’ll end here and promise to post a blog or two on this and other subjects. Bye for now.