Last night I dreamed that the Real World had adopted the ''Unix Philosophy.''
From hpda!hplabs!tektronix!uw-beaver!uw-june!gordon Fri Jul 19 15:50:51 PDT 1985
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>From: [email protected] (Gordon Davisson)
Subject: A Unix nightmare
Message-ID: <[email protected]>
Date: 15 Jul 85 11:08:46 GMT
Posted: Mon Jul 15 04:08:46 1985
Date-Received: 17 Jul 85 05:26:01 GMT
Organization: U of Washington Computer Science
This has been hanging on the wall in the Comp Sci Lab here for some
time, and I thought you all mught enjoy it. It claims to be from A.
N. Onymous by way of Calton Pu , or possibly vice versa.
Last night I dreamed that the Real World had adopted the "Unix
I went to a fast-food place for lunch. When I arrived, I found that
the menu had been taken down, and all the employees were standing in
a line behind the counter waiting for my orders. Each of them was
smaller than I remembered, there were more of them than I'd ever seen
before, and they had very strange names on theuir nametags.
I tried to give my order to the first employee, but he just said
something about a "syntax error." I tried another employee with no
more luck. He just said "Eh?" no matter what I told him. I had
similar experiences with several other employees. (One employee
named "ed" didn't even say "Eh?," he just looked at me quizzically.)
Disgusted, I sought out the manager (at least it said "man" on his
nametag) and asked him for help. He told me that he didn't know
anything about "help," and to try somebody else with a strange name
for more information.
The fellow with the strange name didn't know anything about "help"
either, but when I told him I just wanted to order he directed me to
a girl named "oe," who handled order entry. (He also told me about
several other employees I couldn't care less about, but at least I
got the information I needed.)
I went to "oe" and when I got to the front of the queue she just
smiled at me. I smiled back. She just smiled some more. Eventually
I realized that I shouldn't expect a prompt. I asked for a
hamburger. She didn't respond, but since she didn't say "Eh?" I knew
I'd done something right. We smiled at each other a little while
longer, then I told her I was finished with my order. She directed
me to the cashier, where I paid and received my order.
The hamburger was fine, but it was completely bare... not even a bun.
I went back to "oe" to complain, but she just said "Eh?" a lot. I
went to the manager and asked him about "oe." The manager explained
to me that "oe" had thousands of options, but if I wanted any of them
I'd have to know in advance what they were and exactly how to ask for
He also told me about "vi," who would write down my order and let me
correct it before it was done, and how to hand the written order to
"oe." "vi" had a nasty habbit of not writing down my corrections
unless I told her that I was about to make a correction, but it was
still easier than dealing directly with "oe."
By this time I was really hungry, but I didn't have enough money to
order again, so I figured out how to redirect somebody eles's order
to my plate. Security was pretty lax at that place.
As I was walking out the door, I was snagged by a giant Net. I
screamed and woke up.
Human: Gordon Davisson
ARPA: [email protected]