Smile of the Day

Life is getting much too serious, yes? Who doesn't need a daily smile?

Sunday, May 21

Computers, heaven, and hell

A woman approached the Pearly Gates, and Saint Peter asked for her social security number. The woman told him, and Saint Peter typed on his workstation:

pearly-gates:^/peter grep 212-53-6432 /earth/human/status

The computer responded:

212-53-6432 Cindy Smith!earth naughty pearly-gates:^/peter

Saint Peter then told her she was eternally damned, and that a minivan to hell would be arriving shortly.

Cindy began to protest: "But what did I do wrong? I loved my fellow neighbour as I loved myself, I was a kind, warm, gentle person! Surely there must be a mistake!"

So, Saint Peter looked up on the files, and saw, lo and behold, that she truly was a kind, warm, gentle person ... until he saw the entry for jan 7, 1992-earth, which read:

Posted irrelevant article to newsgroup.

After probing a little more, Saint Peter explained to the woman, "It seems that on January 7, 1992, you posted an article to Alt.religion.computers. This article gave no praise of Emacs, no snide remarks toward Microsoft, and not even a comment on the proper definition of 'hacker'! In fact, the article was not even relating to computers at all, and discussed, of all things, human religion! There wasn't even a reference to Bob or Discordianism, Zen, or the Tao of programming. Oh, dear! This is terrible.

"You see, heaven is a perfect place, and we only have room for the most perfect people. Ever since we ran the T-3 line up from New Jersey we have been particularly harsh on breakers of netiquette. Didn't you read RFC-23654? The one proposing commandments 11 through 16?"

He opened up an XTerm window and searched for some files. After a few moments, the laser printer spat out a crisp sheet of paper. It read:

11: Thou shalt not flame spelling or grammar.
12: Thou shalt not have a .sig file longer than 3 lines.
13: Thou shalt not send "All fags must die" messages to 19 random groups.
14: Thou shalt not request post a frequently asked question.
15: Thou shalt not post to a group without first reading a week's worth of posts, thereby avoiding irrelevant articles.
16: Thou shall not post administrative requests to the main list.

When she was done, she began to stammer, but Saint Peter stopped her, saying, "I am sorry. There is nothing I can do. To register a complaint, you will have to send mail to:

We have a group of cherubim who manage such requests. But don't send it to:

otherwise your request will be distributed to the whole mailing list. They hate that! In fact, there is some discussion about making that the 17th commandment ..."

At that point, a Dodge minivan drove up and came to a stop; and the Devil, in the form of an IBM salesperson, stepped out. "Welcome!" she said. "We have been waiting for you ..." Cindy, almost in a trance, stepped into the minivan and was whisked away to the netherworld, a world of COBOL, System 36's, punch cards, incompatible network standards, and irresponsible news posters. Satan turned to Cindy, and smiled. "You will like it here," she said. "We have netnews, but we have greatly simplified it. We have only one group, it is:!"


Blogger Travis said...

*shudders at COBOL

8:41 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home