How I almost killed Linus Torvalds


by Keith Stattenfield

March 11, 2000


It was a Wednesday. I was driving home, north on Lawerence Expressway as I ususally do. I turned off onto Benton for the 'secret shortcut' that avoids the three evil, horribly long red lights where the expressway intersects with El Camino Way. As usual, I was late for a dinner appointment.

As I come around the corner, I see three idiots standing in the middle of the road. Two guys and a girl; dressed in t-shirts. Standing in the middle of a road. True, it's a side street; true, it doesn't have a lot of traffic, but still - they're standing in the middle of the road just around a pretty blind corner off a road with a 50 mph speed limit.

So, I brake. The one guy looks over his shoulder at me, and now I can see that he's got a camera and he's taking a picture of the other guy. The girl; she's the bright one. She's moved off to the side of the road. The other two, well, apparently they want a picture of the guy standing in the middle of the road.

So, now I'm going really slow, and I pull around them. And suddenly, it's not two idiots standing in the middle of the road; now, it's LINUS TORVALDS. The guy who invented Linux. Well, he didn't really invent Linux; he wrote the kernel for Linux, but everyone thinks he invented Linux so I'm sticking with that.

Long story short, I didn't hit them with my car and kill them. Truthfully, I wasn't even going that fast when I saw them; and there was virtually no chance of a collision; but, would you have read a story "How I easily avoided hitting Linus with my car?"

Oh, by the way. When I recognized who he was, I waved. But he didn't wave back.

( And, now I'm wondering whether Linus lives in that apartment complex a couple of blocks south of here. I hope he doesn't - heck, I hope he's got a huge house with a lawn and everything. )