Been there, done that

“Iʼve eaten steak. I donʼt ever need to do it again,” said Neville Harris.

He figures if heʼs seen it, done it, eaten it, heard it, then he doesnʼt need to engage in boring repetition.

It started in childhood.

“Mom, I already read a book. The teacher keeps telling us to read more books.”

His parents were at a loss.

They took Neville for a walk in the woods.

When they returned home, he said, “See one tree, youʼve seen them all.”

This Shantung maple was terrific, Neville told his parents. Now let's go see something else.

“This Shantung maple was terrific,” Neville told his parents. “Now let’s go see something else.”

Neville even refused a repeat visit to Disneyland.

At college, he decided to go into computer programming. He was especially drawn to the DRY (donʼt repeat yourself) principle of software development, which has proven especially helpful in multi-tier architectures.

One of the challenges Neville has faced is his tendency to dream about similar things over and over. “I canʼt stop it,” he complains. “My dreams go where they want.” He makes sure this doesnʼt happen when heʼs awake.

As an adult, heʼs even more determined to only seek new experiences.

“I never have subscribed to a newspaper,” he said. “I read one back in ʼ97 and that was good enough.”

His wife, Amity, who Neville says will be the only woman heʼll ever marry, and she definitely believes him, sometimes feels great frustration.

He told her recently, “I already mowed the lawn last year, Honey.”

She wanted to experience Handelʼs sublime “Messiah” at San Franciscoʼs Grace Cathedral. She had to go by herself, since Neville had “done Handel.”

He wouldnʼt go to Baker Beach for a picnic and a great view of the Golden Gate Bridge. Heʼd gone to a beach in Santa Cruz and saw no need to repeat the experience.


“Ah, the ocean at Santa Cruz, that was a great experience,” said Neville. But let’s not waste our time at any more beaches. That would be really boring.”

He even is careful to find original ways to express himself when heʼs talking to someone. “I dislike repeating myself; itʼs a waste of breathing,” he said. “Plus, it weakens the impact of your statements.”

And for his grand finale, he says, hopefully many years ahead, he’ll only die once.