} The Null-Epsilon-Twist-Chuck
} All-Purpose Bed Time Story
} When I ran into Chuck, our systems administrator, I knew
} something was wrong. It was 11 am, and he was in his office! I asked
} Chuck if he knew anything about woodchucks. He said he would attend
} the matter immediately, once he was done with the network problem. I
} said "D'oh!" in a manner similar to Homer Simpson. Chuck stared back
} at me with an expression that said "Well, sir, I know you would like
} to choke me to death, but imagine the outcome -- no one to take care
} of your petty network crashes or stupid core dumps. You see, I know
} the root password and no one else does. So, I'd be careful, sir, if I
} were you." I left his office, careful not to slam the door to hard,
} for I knew he would notice my abrupt mood swing. "The hell with
} roots, leaves and trunks," I said to myself. "I'll find wood and
} chuck it myself!" Of course I knew I wasn't kidding anyone. For all
} the wood in the world wouldn't make a single match, if I didn't have
} chuck's help. He was the root! He was the originator of all the
} network activity. Even if I hit return on an empty line...
} All of a sudden I saw what was missing from the picture!
} The Null query! The empty line! The blank check! "Oh God!" I
} muttered, "I need Chuck right now!" So I hurried to Gina. Gina, for
} God's sake! The evil twin of Chuck! But more compassionate in other
} ways. Chuck would never answer your letters, while gina would never
} let one go unanswered. Chuck would help you if he could, while Gina
} would love to attend your problems if you could find her. But I was
} lucky -- she was sitting in her office. The look of terror in her
} eyes when she saw me at the door, were replaced by tears, once I told
} her about our conversation with Chuck. "The damned martians," she
} whispered. "They got him too. But I ain't giving up. Are you with
} me? Tell me great Oracle, are you? Tell me you are and we'll kick
} their lower portions!" I was baffled! The Martians, of all the races
} in the solar system (or the Universe, for that matter.) "I have to
} think," I said. Or tried to say, for I realized I could hardly
} breathe. Nevertheless, I saw the glitter in her eyes, long enough to
} realize that she was not only lying, but also pulling the plug on me!
} I hurled down the floor, just in time to take her by the arms and
} shake her. One of her ears came loose! My god! She was an android!
} I started running, but I heard her say "kill -9" I ducked and luckily
} the signal went past me, killing an innocent daemon. I said "renice
} 100" before she could say anything -- I used to be faster, and
} promised myself to go back to training, if I survived this one. To my
} surprise, she got hit. She opened her mouth very slowly, and for a
} moment, nothing came out of it. Then, slowly words began to form:
} "k-k-k-k-k-k-k- e-e-e-e-e-e l-l-l-l-l l-l-l-l-l m-m-m-i-.. " I
} grabbed the fire extinguisher from the wall and started spraying her
} mouth with foam. She went on trying for a little while, and finally
} gave up. " + Done. Gina " I said to myself. Then I heard muffled
} voices from the printer room. I knew what I would find there, but
} hurried anyway. Not surprisingly, the real Gina was tied down to a
} stack of tapes. "Don't worry, dear," I said "you are saved." And I
} meant it -- I had the TK50 in my pocket. Needless to say, Chuck was
} in a similar condition, and the "renice 100" trick worked nicely on
} him too.
} On my way out, the real Chuck stopped me. "Mr. Oracle! Sir!
} One moment sir!" he shouted after me. I stopped and waited for him.
} "How did you do it, sir?" he said. And I knew he wouldn't understand,
} so I simply said "The null query Chuck. The twist and the null query!
} Just twist the null query, and all you get is a woodchuck!" He was
} baffled. "Sir?" he said, with the puzzled look you usually see on
} the face of a new user after doing an "rm -rf *" Clearly he would not
} understand. But I decided to try a little more. "You see, my
} confused friend, if there was such a thing as a unified field theory,
} the heart of it would consist of a tongue twisting null query, which
} would usually chuck wood, and work work. But that's not possible, at
} least in this particular universe!" I saw hints of understanding,
} signs weak but definitely there. I was wrong for once -- Chuck knew
} what I was talking about. His eyes shone with understanding. "So if I
} simply hit the return key on any blank line... " I was amazed! "The
} null query!" I shouted. He was moved to tears. "I'm glad we have you
} with us, Mr Oracle, sir. I really am." he said, holding back the
} tears. As I started back towards the door, I was feeling that I was
} in much better company than I thought. Life was sweet, and Lisa was
} waitng home with a nice dinner for just the two of us. Ahh... life
} was sweet indeed. I waived goodbye to Chuck, who was joined by Gina.
} They both waved back, with tears in their eyes.