} It's been a long one. I'll explain:
} 3:30 AM: Zadoc wakes me and tells me that he just received the
} question, "k could chuck wood?" and asks what he should do
} about it. I spend the next half hour debugging the queue,
} when it suddenly occurs to me that I should leave things the
} way they are. I answer "OT!" and go back to bed.
} 4:30 AM: Zadoc wakes me and tells me that he just received the
} question "cat keeps scratching me in the face, and I can't
} sleep." I teleport the cat a bowl of Yummie Suppilcant
} Bits(TM), bestow the kind animal with sentience, and go back
} to bed.
} 4:31 AM: Zadoc wakes me and tells me that he just received a question
} from a cat asking "w much hair would a hairless-ape ape if
} a hairless-ape could ape less hair?" I remove the sentience
} from the stupid animal, and also from its owner, for good
} measure. I go back to bed.
} 4:40 AM: Zadoc wakes me and asks how anyone could be rude enough to
} wake an Oracle at 4:30 in the morning. Lisa uses a sharp
} object to scratch him in the face, and I seriously
} contemplate turning *him* into a non-sentient life form, when
} it occurs to me that he already is one. I go back to bed.
} 1:00 PM: I wake up, and remember my job interview with the molluscoids
} from the Pleiades Cluster. I smile as I think of the
} intelligence and respectfulness of the Pleiadians, and the
} complete lack of rodentoid life forms on their home planet.
} At last -- no more questions about those woodland creatures;
} no more questions demonstrating the supplicant's capacity for
} coming up with idiotic puns with free e-mail signatures
} attached -- this could be the big break I've been waiting
} for! I then remember that the interview was scheduled for
} 8:30 AM. I go back to bed.
} 3:00 PM: I wake up, feeling miserable. An examination of the queue
} reveals that there are over 2000 questions. I contemplate
} going back to bed.
} 3:05 PM: I examine the first question: "ning of life?" I answer
} 3:06 PM: I examine the next question: "GET NOOD PICS OF LISA????" I
} almost forget my despondency when I imagine the luser's
} frustration at my answer: "pegs/lisa/nood/closeups/".
} 3:07 PM: A thought crosses my mind.
} 3:08 PM: I examine the next question: "tp://www.juno.com
} Or call Juno at (800) 654-JUNO [654-5866]". I barely
} suppress a childish laugh.
} 3:09 PM: I spend the next few minutes writing a simple Perl script.
} 3:15 PM: I reply to the question: "s all. You owe the Oracle $1000."
} Or rather, the Perl script replies this.
} 3:16 PM: The queue is empty. I completely fail to suppress a childish
} laugh as I read "my" last answer: "ope that answers your
} question. You owe the Oracle Norway."
} 3:30 PM: Having nothing better to do than wonder how long it will take
} the suckers, er, supplicants to catch on to this, I begin
} idly examining the queue-processing code that caused the
} whole "problem" in the first place.
} 4:00 PM: A single line catches my eye:
} // Copyright (C) 4004BC T. U. Oracle
} It occurs to me that since I wrote the code, it cannot, by
} definition, contain any bugs. Something is definitely wrong
} 4:01 PM: I re-examine all of the questions which "I" so hastily
} answered. Something seems to be missing from each one.
} 4:02 PM: Of course! It's the grovel! No matter where each question
} is cut off, the grovel is completely missing! How could I
} have not noticed this? I <ZOT> myself for allowing my greed
} to overcome me like that.
} 4:05 PM: Everything suddenly begins to fit together: The low quality
} of responses, the declining frequency of and number of votes
} on the digests, the lack of any mention of me in RHOD ... it
} all makes sense now! People have just stopped respecting me.
} And when that happens...
} 4:06 PM: A shiver creeps down my spine as I realize that I, the
} immortal Oracle, may one day cease to exist. For I, Zadoc,
} Lisa, the molluscoids from the Pleiades Cluster, and the cat
} so curious about hairless-apes aping less hair, only exist in
} the minds of my loyal incarnations. And if they don't care
} 4:15 PM: I realize that there is only one way to solve this problem.
} I grit my teeth, and de-queue the next question. It's from
} some dweeb who ... no, I must avoid those thoughts. It's a
} question about what kind of day I've had. I can answer this.
} 4:16 PM: I begin crafting my response. I do something I rarely do
} these days: I put some effort into it.
} 10:30 PM: I look over the response. I hope, probably in vain, that my
} priests will select it, my incarnations will read it, and
} that I, one day, will be the great, respected, funny, and
} wise Oracle that I once was.
} You -- that is, all of you -- owe the Oracle some questions, some
} answers, some votes, and some discussion of me in rec.humor.oracle.d.
} And, above all, some effort!