> Several weeks ago, I was sitting at the downtown bus station, passing
> the time until my bus arrived. There was an unshaven fellow wearing
> a grimy tweed overcoat standing nearby and smoking. Suddenly he sat
> down beside me, turned to me and with a beery exhalation, mumbled,
> "That's three cigarettes and eight cents."
> I looked up from my newspaper. "What?" I inquired.
> "Three cigarettes and eight cents," he repeated. "You owe me three
> cigarettes and eight cents."
> I just stared at him.
> "But that's okay," he went on. "You don't have to pay me now."
> And with that he stood and shuffled off in the direction of the
> men's room.
> I shook my head, figured he was probably crazy, and went back to
> my newspaper. But just now I got to thinking about it and it hit
> me--who would ever come up to me and tell me that I owed him some
> paltry sum, and then take no interest whatsoever in collecting on
> Who, that is, but the Usenet Oracle?
> That was you, wasn't it? You were trying to collect on the
> cigarettes and pennies you charged me for the answer you gave
> me when my parakeet died from the tainted birdseed and I wanted
> to know how I could get revenge on the birdseed company. Well,
> I have just one thing to say--pathetic! You look awful, Oracle.
> You obviously hadn't shaven or eaten any solid food in days, and
> you only know when your last haircut was. The clothes you were
> wearing looked like they came out of garbage dumpsters. You'd
> been drinking, and probably taking other drugs too. How could
> you let yourself sink so low? And what are you going to do about
> it? You realize, don't you, that once word of this gets out to
> the Usenet community at large, no one will ever listen to your
> answers anymore. They'll know you're just another drunken
> reprobate off the street, and they'll figure it'd be cheaper
> just to go talk to the guy who says all the needle-pricks in his
> arms were put there by UFOs. You drunk junkies make me sick, you
> know that?
> (Oh, by the way, I never did manage to get revenge on the birdseed
> company, and do you know why? There's no such goddamn THING as
> an "ACME Parakeet-Shaped Grenade"! They took them the market three
> years ago! You've really lost it, Oracle. Get help.)