“A Holiday Poem for Net People”
A holiday poem of unknown origins from the late 1980s,
reportedly found printed out somewhere in California:
‘Twas the night before E-mail and all through the house,
Not a program was working, not even a browse.
The Sysops all hung by their tubes in despair
With hopes that a miracle soon would be there.
The users were nestled all snug in their beds
While visions of messages danced in their heads.
When out in the hall there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from my desk to see what was the matter.
And what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a super programmer (with a six-pack of beer).
His resume glowed with experience so rare;
He turned out great code with a bit-fiddler’s flair.
More rapid than eagles, his programs they came,
And he whistled and shouted and called them by name:
On Qmail! On MarkMail! On Inquiry! On Delete!
On Readers! On Closing! On Functions Complete!
His eyes were glazed over; fingers nible and lean,
From weekends and nights in front of a screen,
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread.
He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
Turning specs into code, then turned with a jerk.
And laying his fingers upon the Enter key,
The system came up and worked perfectly!
The updates updated; the deletes they deleted;
The inquiries inquired, and mail runs completed.
He tested each whistle, and tested each bell
With nary an abend, and all had gone well.
The system was finished. The tests were concluded.
The Sysops’ last requests were even included.
And the users exclaimed with a snarl and a taunt,
“It’s just what we asked for…but not what we want!”