Suppose Edgar Allen Poe Had Used a Computer...

 

(Parody of "The Raven")
(this is from the days of the floppy disk drive. Enjoy a look into the past.)

Once upon a midnight dreary, fingers cramped and vision bleary,
System manuals piled high and wasted paper on the floor,
Longing for the warmth of bed sheets,
Still I sat there, doing spreadsheets:
Having reached the bottom line,
I took a floppy from the drawer.
Typing with a steady hand, I then invoked the SAVE command
and waited for the disk to store,
Only this and nothing more.

Deep into the monitor peering, long I sat there wond'ring, fearing,
Doubting, while the disk kept churning,
turning yet to churn some more.
"Save!" I said, "You cursed PC! Save my data from before!"
One thing did the phosphors answer, only this and nothing more,
Just, "Abort, Retry, Ignore?"



Was this some bizarre illusion? Some maniacal intrusion?
These were choices undesired, ones I'd never faced before.
Carefully, I weighed the choices as the disk made impish noises.
The cursor flashed, insistent, waiting, baiting me to type some more.
Clearly I must press a key, choosing one and nothing more,
From "Choose Abort, Retry, Ignore?"

With my fingers pale and trembling
Slowly toward the keyboard bending,
Longing for a happy ending, hoping all would be restored,
Praying for some guarantee
Timidly I pressed a key.
But on the screen there still persisted words appearing as before.
Ghastly grim they blinked and taunted, haunted, as my patience wore,
Saying "Abort, Retry, Ignore?"

I tried to catch the chips off-guard --
I pressed again, but twice as hard.
I pleaded with the cursed machine:
I begged and cried and then I swore.
Now in desperation, trying random combinations,
Still there came the incantation, just as senseless as before.
Cursor blinking, angrily winking, blinking nonsense as before.
Reading, "Abort, Retry, Ignore?"

There I sat, distraught, exhausted by my own machine accosted
Getting up I turned away and paced across the office floor.
And then I saw dreadful sight: a lightning bolt cut through the night.
A gasp of horror overtook me, shook me to my core.
The lightning zapped my previous data, lost and gone forevermore.
And no "Abort, Retry, Ignore?"



To this day I do not know
The place to which lost data go.
What dreaded nether world is wrought
where all lost data will be stored?
Beyond the reach of mortal souls? Beyond the ether? In black holes?
But sure as there is C, Pascal, and Lotus, Ashton-Tate and more,
One day you'll be left to wonder, data trying to restore,
"Will I see it nevermore?"

Added August 26, 1996

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