I still remember two times that Henry got angry at me that have impacted me to this day.

One time was before my wedding. I asked Minho to be the DJ, and he came over to 420 James Rd. one night to make a mix for the reception. He asked me what kind of music I wanted, and I told him to use whatever he wants, that I trusted him. Then when he started assembling some music together, I started nixing some of his selections.

Henry overheard that and got pissed. And he was right to.

You can’t tell someone they can do whatever they want, that they have ownership over it, and then object to some of their decisions. It’s the worst thing you can do. It gives the impression of enabling, but really leaves them powerless, and worse, paralyzed, because they’re expected to make their own decisions but know that really, they have to conform to some unstated preferences that you have. You’re making them do something and not giving them the ability to really do it. That sucks.

Either you fully entrust them, and accept whatever they decide, or you be honest and state all your requirements up front. But saying they can do whatever they want and then objecting or modifying it when they do, that’s the worst. It’s a lesson I’ve remembered to this day.

And I need to remember it, because honestly, I still do this too much, especially with Jieun. It happens a lot when we’re deciding where/what to eat. I’ll say I’m fine with whatever. So she’ll decide on something, say Chili’s. And then I’ll nix it. That sucks, and I’ll remember as it happens that it sucks, but I need to remember more before I do it.

Another time Henry got angry at me was when Eric came over to work on a project for our CS 223B (Computer Vision) class. It was due the next day, and it was already pretty late, and I was screwing around, probably browsing the web or something. Henry was pissed. Because it’s one thing to waste your own time. It’s another thing to waste someone else’s time. That sucks.

And again, he was right, and it’s a lesson I’ve held with me to this day. So like, at work, if someone is waiting on something from me, I prioritize that first. It’s not good to waste your own time, but it’s awful to waste someone else’s.

SN: I got an A+ in that class. Eric took it for pass / no-credit so no A+ for him. The Cal folks that go to Stanford for grad school claim that Stanford has rampant grade inflation. I disagree, but classes like that one don’t help my argument; there’s no way I deserved an A+. I got a few other A+s in college but those were work; sadly, Eric and other Cal folks probably think it’s as easy as it was for CS 223B, which it wasn’t. Sigh.

I remember these two times because they were lessons I’ve kept with me, but also because they were two of the rarer times that Henry was right to be angry. He gets angry many other times for no valid reason. One of my favorite memories, really in my life, was a time we were playing Bust-A-Move. Henry got so angry that I was consistently winning that he started foaming at the mouth. He wasn’t angry at me, really. And actually, he was more frustrated than angry, I think. But I had never seen anyone upset to the point of foaming at the mouth before. Good times.

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