Old, jealous gods

In the beginning was Big God Mainframe, cared for by a carefully selected and well trained priesthood that dusted The Machine, changed-out components on the ordained Master Schedule, protected The Machine from environmental harm, and very occasionally and begrudgingly let users run programs on it, after proper cleansing and supervision in the rituals of submission. And like many demanding gods, users brought offerings to the altar of Big God Mainframe so they could be executed.


Luser at pick-up window: “B-but, my printout is totally mangled! How can I possibly turn in my assignment like this?”

Flunky Priest (2nd rank): “That’s pretty torn up, yup. You must’ve done something wrong. How many times did you genuflect before handing in the deck?”

“Three, like the T/A said. To the east.”

“Hmmmm, should have been sufficient. Candle?”

“I bought it at the concession down the hall. You sold it to me.”

“So I did. No problem there. Let’s see … the aura checks out, the planetary alignment is fine … ah, I see what went wrong.”


“A bad printer escape code here, followed by a blasphemy, an undefined storage tag, and two mortal syntax errors in the BENEDICTION SECTION.”

“Oh. But what do I do?”

“Three mantras, a cone of incense next Knuthday, and fix the return statement right here. I’ll tell your T/A that the prior job was unsanctified and blew yours up, too. Sometimes God has lousy aim. That, or the power supply is about to fry again.”

“Gosh, thanks!”


College computing: No fun at all in the 70s and early 80s… 🙂

Author: landon

My mom thinks I'm in high tech.

2 thoughts on “Old, jealous gods”

  1. What do you mean ‘no fun’? There was nothing like handing in a small stack of cards expecting to get back a one page output, waiting around for an our while you waited for your pitiful stack of cards to be processed, and then receiving a 4″ stack of green bar paper back….oh the joy!
    You ever make a Christmas wreath out of old punch cards? Yeahhh, those were the days!

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