Cobol Thread

Alex Tseng (alextseng@rocketmail.com)
Tue, 10 Feb 1998 19:44:38 -0800 (PST)


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note: forwarded msg attached.

===
Nothing worth doing is completed in our lifetime; therefore we must be saved by hope. Nothing true or beautiful or good makes sense in any immediate historical context; therefore we must be saved by faith. Nothing we do, however virtuous, can be accomplished alone;
therefore we are saved by love. : )

Those who cannot tell what they desire or expect, still sigh
and struggle with indefinite thoughts and vast wishes.
-- Ralph Waldo Emerson

_________________________________________________________
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Received: from [203.120.211.3] by web2; Tue, 10 Feb 1998 19:43:04 PST
Date: Tue, 10 Feb 1998 19:43:04 -0800 (PST)
From: Alex Tseng <alextseng@rocketmail.com>
Subject: Cobol Thread
To: extropy@extropians.com
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~~~ The COBAL Programmer ~~~
I hope you've not heard this before ....
anyway what's the point .... just re-surfacing ....

Jack was once a COBOL programmer in the late 1990's who
(after years of being taken for granted and treated as a
technological dinosaur by all the UNIX programmers and
Client/Server programmers and website developers, etc.)
was finally getting some respect.

You see, he'd become a private consultant specializing in
Year 2000 conversions. He was working short-term
assignments for
prestige companies, traveling all over the world on different
assignments. He was working 70 and 80 and even 90 hour
weeks, but it was worth it.

However, several years of this relentless, mind-numbing
work had taken its toll on Jack. He had problems sleeping
and began having anxiety dreams about the Year 2000. It
had reached a point where even the thought of the year 2000
made him nearly violent. He must have suffered some sort
of breakdown, because all he could think about was how he
could avoid the year 2000 and all that came with it.

By the end of 1997 Jack decided to contact a company that
specialized in cryogenics. He made a deal to have himself
frozen until 2001 through their totally automated (and very
expensive) process. He was thrilled. The next thing he
would know is he'd wake up in the year 2001; after the New
Year celebrations and
computer debacles; after the leap year, and the dust had
settled.
Nothing else to worry about except getting on with his life.

He was put into his cryogenic receptacle, the technicians
set the
revive date, he was given injections to slow his heartbeat
to a bare
minimum, and that was that.

The next thing that Jack saw was an enormous and very
modern room filled with excited people. They were all
shouting "I can't believe it!" and "It's a miracle" and
"He's alive!". There were
cameras (unlike any he'd ever seen) and equipment that
looked like
it came out of a science fiction movie.

Someone who was obviously a spokesperson for the group
stepped
forward. Jack couldn't contain his enthusiasm. "It is
over?" he
asked. "Is 2001 already here? Are all the millennial
parties and
promotions and crises all over and done with?"

The spokesman explained that there had been a problem
with the programming of the timer on Jack's cryogenic
receptacle, it
hadn't been year 2000 compliant. It was actually 8,000 years
later, not the year 2001. But the spokesman told Jack that
he shouldn't get excited; someone important wanted to speak
to him.

Suddenly a wall-sized projection screen displayed the image
of a
man that had a striking resemblance to Bill Gates. This
man was Prime Minister of Earth. He told Jack not to be
upset. That
this was a wonderful time to be alive. That there was
world peace and no more starvation. That the space program
had been reinstated and there were colonies on the moon and
on Mars. That technology had advanced to such a degree
that everyone had virtual reality interfaces which allowed
them to contact anyone else on the planet, or to watch any
entertainment, or to hear any music recorded anywhere.

"That sounds terrific," said Jack. "But I'm curious. Why is
everybody so interested in me?"

"Well," said the Prime Minister. "The year 10000 is
just around the corner, and it says in your files that you
know
COBOL..."

===
Nothing worth doing is completed in our lifetime; therefore
we must be saved by hope. Nothing true or beautiful or good
makes sense in any immediate historical context; therefore
we must be saved by faith. Nothing we do, however virtuous,
can be accomplished alone;
therefore we are saved by love. : )

Those who cannot tell what they desire or expect, still sigh
and struggle with indefinite thoughts and vast wishes.
-- Ralph Waldo Emerson

_________________________________________________________
DO YOU YAHOO!?
Get your free @yahoo.com address at http://mail.yahoo.com

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