Startup: With Apologies To Edgar Allen Poe

 (EDITOR’S UPDATE: I have an archive of stuff lifted from USENET from back in the days before the Interwebs, this is one of them.  My apologies to the author, Poe, and anyone in the commentariat who – for reasons passing understanding – think I have that much creative ability.)

To the meter of “The Raven”

Once upon a midnight dreary, fingers cramped and vision bleary,
System manuals piled high and wasted paper on the floor,
Longing for the warmth of bed sheets, still I sat there doing spreadsheets.
Having reached the bottom line I took a floppy from the drawer,
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.
But the silence was unbroken, and the stillness gave no token.
“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 impish 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 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, and pressed again, but twice as hard.
I pleaded with the cursed machine: I begged and cried and then I swore.
Now in mighty desperation, trying random combinations,
Still there came the incantation, just as senseless as before.
Cursor blinking, angrily winking, blinking 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 a 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 go.
What demonic nether world us wrought where lost data will be stored,
Beyond the reach of mortal souls, beyond the ether, into black holes?
But sure as there’s C, Pascal, Lotus, Ashton-Tate and more,
You will be one day be left to wander, lost on some Plutonian shore,
Pleading, “Abort, Retry, Ignore?”


  • OA5599

    [youtube Pg1cVPzGRaM youtube]

    Very nice. Remember to repost it on 10/31.

  • mr. mzs zsm msz esq

    Techie, that's very good! Don't see abort, retry, fail much anymore, but you don't see Ashton-Tate nor Lotus much anymore either! Too bad lightning struck before you found another diskette.

  • johnnymac09

    Not Bad! But don't quit your day job.

    Oh wait, you were trying to use a floppy disk, in this day and age, maybe you should quit your day job. 🙂

  • TurboBrick

    Yes! Perfect! This captures the feeling of dread when the 3.5" drive starts making that alternating grinding sound, and you know that with each repetition of the cycle the chance of getting the A/R/F prompt keeps growing. Hit R…. R… R…. if it was going to work, it would have worked by now, how long do I keep trying….

    Back when applications (ok fine, games!) started to take 15+ floppies I started to just routinely making two copies of everything. If floppy #12 crapped out of the first set, there was a good chance the second set was still good.