Had Edgar Allan Poe Used a Computer
Once upon a midnight dreary,
fingers cramped and vision bleary,
Systems 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 monstrous noises.
The cursor flashed, insistent, waiting,
baiting me to type some more.
Clearly I must press a key,
choosing one and nothing more,
from "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.
Then I tried in desperation,
sev'ral random combinations,
Still there came the incantation,
just as senseless as before.
Cursor blinking, mocking, winking,
flashing 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 very core;
The 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 ether, in black holes?
But sure as there's C, Pascal,
Lotus, Ashton-Tate and more,
You will one day be left to wander,
lost on some Plutonian shore,
Pleading, "Abort, Retry, Ignore?"