One thing I remember about Mike is that he was always the tinkerer. It didn’t matter what it was, what it cost or how complex, he ALWAYS wanted to know how it worked–and would figure it out. In many ways, I’m a lot like this but Mike took it to the extreme!
One of my earliest memories of this was about 3 months after Mike was diagnosed with cancer (At Christmastime). I don’t remember exactly how the gift came to be, but he was given a dual cassette AM/FM radio during one of his hospital stays. He was one thing he always wanted and I envied him so much when he got it. It was black, with silver buttons and was BIG! (For 10-11 year old boys it was big) Like I said, I envied him this stereo–so much that I was nearly angry until my grandfather ran over my foot with his car. (Why did this help you ask? Because his insurance company offered me–an 11 year old boy–a settlement for pain and suffering. My parents used part of this HUGE settlement–$75–to buy me a “single” cassette stereo)
I digress. When Mike got home from this hospital visit, the FIRST thing he did was to take that awesome BIG stereo (Have I mentioned that it was big?) apart piece by piece to see how it was built and what each component did. I remember this because I was heartbroken that he “destroyed” this beautiful piece of technology. (yes, kids, in 1987, it was AWESOME!) Dad was horrified as well and I remember the exchange clearly:
Michael Edwin Haines, what have you done? –Dad
Don’t worry dad, it still works. See: (As he reached up to the power button tacked to the wall and turned it on).
For the next two months, that stereo sat–er hung–in pieces on his bedroom wall while he figured it out. In the meantime, he lost buttons, pieces, (Those things always have extra pieces in them you know) etc but it ALWAYS worked.