} THROUGH THE LOOKING-MONITOR
} (A Novel in four Parts)
} Chronicling the Tribulations of a hapless Supplicant,
} Mysteriously trapped within his Computer and inverted in the
} Process, and how he escaped them.
} (Part the Fourth)
} Wherein our bumbling Hero,
} Having escaped to the Shell and learn to type in the proper Direction,
} (Having only typed the wrong Way before because of his Ignorance)
} discovers the true Nature of his Imprisonment,
} and is at last set free of it.
} "Perhaps now I can have at the meaning of this awkward state of
} mine," said the Supplicant to himself.
} One benefit of being trapped in one's computer is the instant
} accessibility of online documentation; the Supplicant, though normally
} as clueless as your everyday MacUser when it came to Unix machines, and
} quite bewildered by being sucked into one without warning, had full
} knowledge of every command.
} "spacetime(1)%", said the Shell; and to this, the Supplicant
} responded "exit^M".
} From the shell: "Can not exit master shell. Universe is
} At first, the Supplicant was struck by a great fear, for he could
} not escape the shell. A moment's thought, however, led him to the
} exhilirating understanding that he, in the master shell, was nearly
} omnipotent; he was trapped only in the great Universe, which was like
} not being trapped at all. He set about immediately to learn what was
} going on:
} "ps^M", he typed, but soon realized that this was useless; there
} were simply too many natural processes for one simple Supplicant to
} understand. "ps|grep -i 'Supplicant'" was next; in the midst of the
} stream of dozens of processes, he spotted
} "89908236418235987514239762431023408715923401..." [the number ran on
} for some time] "...83 pts/+inf T 0:00 humanitas/supplicant -noclue
} -name=" and his name, and "-creationdate=" and his birthday.
} That was it! The process representing his earthly life was
} merely suspended! Glorious!
} The Supplicant wondered how it might have happenned. A bit of
} research amidst the documentation suggested that he might have pressed
} "^Z", or some similar combination, and suspended his own process
} Though he longed to see what wrongs might be righted with the
} power of the master shell (login unspeakable, password untypeable, if
} the theologians are to be belived), the Supplicant was even more deeply
} compelled to return home to his beloved Lisa (as he had named his toy
} computer, in pathetic hope of impressing other Supplicants with his
} similarity to the Oracle); he pictured to himself the icon that must
} now be marring her luminous display:
} | |
} | O O |
} | ___ |
} | / \ |
} The pity of it all moved him to tears, and he typed "fg^M" to
} return to his former life.
} And so, in the end, did our Supplicant return to his simple life
} of old, pointing and clicking well into his old age, when he died in
} ignorant bliss, having quickly forgotten all he had learned from the
} manpages, as all lUsers do. He never again escaped to the shell; and
} never did he change the world as he had hoped, not even executing "rm
} -rf software.companies/microsoft", which would, perhaps, have been the
} greatest single command he might have entered. This is all a dreadful
} shame, which is why *you* must not make the same mistake.
} Don't waste this opportunity, Supplicant. Before you go, take
} the moment's effort to save geekkind. And if Microsoft's still around
} when you resume normal operation, well, ...
} ...let's just say you'll have a "zot -9" coming to you.
} You owe the Oracle just this *one* little favor.