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Poetic Injustice

or Poe Revisted

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 bedsheets,
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 mother!
Save my data from before!"
One thing did the phosphors answer,
Only this and nothing more,
  Just, "Abort, Retry, Ignore?"

Was this some occult 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 frantic 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 the dreadful sight:
A lightning bolt cut through the night.
A gasp of horror overtook me,
Shook me to my core.
That lightning zapped my previous data,
Lost and gone forevermore.
  Not even, "Abort, Retry, Ignore?"

To this day I do not know
The place to which lost data goes.
What demonic nether world
Is wrought where data will be stored,
Beyond the reach of mortal souls,
Beyond the aether, some black hole?
But while there's C, Pascal and Java,
Word, Excel, email and more,
You'll one day be left to wander,
Lost on some Plutonian shore, pleading,
  "Abort, Retry, Ignore?"

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