WHO CREATED UNIX? RITCHIE? THOMPSON? SAY, WHO IS THAT SMILING OVER THERE?
COULD IT BE... SATAN?
(Linda Branagan of Dallas writes):
The following is a true story. Last week I walked into a local
home-style-cookin'-restaurant/watering hole to pick up a take-out order. I
spoke briefly to the waitress behind the counter, who told me my order
would be done in a few minutes.
So, while I was busy gazing at the farm implements hanging on the walls, I
was approached by two... well, let's just call them `natives.' These guys
might just be the original Texas rednecks - complete with ten-gallon hats,
snakeskin boots and the pervasive odor of cheap beer and whiskey.
"Pardon us, ma'am. Mind if we as you a question?"
"Are you a Satanist?"
"Uh, no, I can't say that I am," I replied.
"Gee ma'am. Are you sure about that?"
I put on my biggest, brightest Dallas-Cowboys-cheerleader smile and said,
"No, I'm positive. The closest I've ever come to Satanism is watching
"Hmmm. Interesting. See, we was just wondering why it is you have the Lord
of Darkness on your chest there."
I was this close to slapping one of them and causing a scene. But I stopped
and remembered which T-shirt I happened to be wearing that day.
Sure enough, it had a picture of a small, devilish-looking creature that
for quite some time now has been associated with a certain computer
In this particular representation, the creature was wearing sneakers.
"See, ma'am," one of them said, "we don't exactly appreciate it when people
show off pictures of the Devil. Especially when he's lookin' so friendly."
These idiots sounded terrifyingly serious.
"Oh, well, see, this isn't really the devil," I assured them. "It's just,
well, it's sort of a mascot."
"And what kind of football team has the devil as a mascot?"
"Oh, it's not a team," I said. "It's an operating - uh, a kind of
I figured that an ATM machine was about as much technology as these guys
could handle, and I knew that if I so much as uttered the word "Unix" I
would only make things worse.
"Where does this Satanical computer come from?"
"California. And there's nothing Satanical about it, really."
Somewhere along the line here, the waitress noticed my predicament. But
these guys probably outweighed her by 600 pounds, so all she did was look
at me sympathetically and run off into the kitchen.
"Ma'am, I think you're lying. And we'd appreciate it if you'd leave the
Fortunately, the waitress returned that very instant with my order, and the
natives agreed that it would be okay for me to actually pay for my food
before I left. While I was at the cash register, they amused themselves by
talking to each other.
Native #1: "Do you think the police know about these devil computers?"
Native #2: "If they come from California, then the FBI oughta know about
They escorted me to the door. I tried one last time.
"You're really blowing this all out of proportion. A lot of people use this
kind of computer. Universities, researchers, businesses. They're actually
Big, big, BIG mistake. I should have guessed at what came next.
"Does the government use these devil computers?" one of them asked.
"And does the government pay for 'em? With our tax dollars?"
I decide that it was time to jump ship.
"No. Nope. Not at all. Your tax dollars never enter the picture at all. I
promise. No sir, not a penny. Our good Christian congressmen would never
let something like that happen. Nope. Never." I added, "Um, bye."
Texas. What a country.