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              In the beginning, all was void, with the spirit of  God
         brooding over the dark vapors.

              Then God said, "Let there be Byte," and there was Byte.
         God  saw  the Byte, and was pleased with it, and divided the
         Byte into Bits.  He created a multitude of zeros, for  zeros
         were all there were.

              On the  Second  day  God  toyed  with  the  Bytes,  and
         organized  some  of them into groups, to which He said, "You
         shall be called Words, for from Bytes you came, and of Bytes
         are you composed."

              On the Third day God said (to whom God was talking  has
         never  been  ascertained or even questioned), "I have Words,
         made  up  of  Bytes,  made  up  of  Bits.   But  something's

              So God scraped up a lump of clay, squeezed  it  tightly
         in  His mighty hands, and flung it against the sky, where it
         solidified into a smokey mass.  God saw the  steaming  heap,
         that  it  was  good,  and  was pleased, and said to it, "You
         shall be called Hardware, a home for My Words and Bytes  and
         Bits,  and  as  you  are the very first of your kind I shall
         call you CPU."

              And God turned, and with a flick of  His  wrist  spewed
         forth  tape drives ("For you shall serve as a temporary home
         for My words..."), discs,  paper  tape,  terminals,  on-line
         printers,   entire  remote  stations,  whole  teleprocessing

              And God saw all this sparkling in the heavens, that  it
         was good, and He was pleased.

              Having done all this, God rested.

              On the Fourth day, God reviewed all that He  had  done.
         He  saw  His  Bits  and  His Bytes residing statically on an
         infinite  variety  of  media.   But  He  was  not   pleased.
         "Something's  missing,"  said  He.   "I  need  to animate My
         treasured Bytes, to give them Life."

              So God leaned back, touched a soiled hand to His mighty
         brow,  and  with  one  single, all-powerful thought, set His
         hardware in motion.

              "You," said He to the intangible  breath  now  coursing
         through His hardware, "I shall call software, for..." and so
         on, and so forth.

              And He continued, "You are the  first,  the  best,  the
         most  perfect  and  omnipotent  software."  And  divided the
         software into many parts;  into utilities, compilers, system
         libraries  and  His  favorite,  most privilieged and beloved
         operating system.

              God was pleased, so He rested.

              On the Fifth day, God again surveyed all  that  He  had
         done,  and  was  filled  with  joy.   He found that with His
         creation he could determine the value of Pi to ten  thousand
         digits.   He  found  that He could produce flowcharts of His
         beloved operating system, and these He posted by His throne.
         He  discovered  that  He  could  run  off  Snoopy calenders,
         pictures  of  the  Mona  Lisa,  and  witty  little  computer
         accounts  of  The  Creation.   And  with  a  terminal at His
         throne, He didn't have to travel halfway to Hell  to  access
         His system.

              He called His creation "Imperatatum Byte Magnamus"  (or
         "IBM" for short).

              But all was not well.   God's  beloved  system  was  so
         large,   so  complex,   that  even the mighty God - maker of
         heavens and earth  (but that's another story),  the  Builder
         of the CPU and virtual memory, the Author of Fortran -

              was hard-pressed to keep up on how everything worked.

              So God said, "I'll make Me a Man."

              And He did, and to the  man  He  said,  "You  shall  be
         called  (logically  enough) "Man," and to you shall fall the
         responsibility of maintaining all that I have done."

              And to keep man happy after-hours, God gave him  Woman,
         saying  to man, "For I know that even Bytes get lonely for a
         little Bit."

              And God rested, chuckling at His  own  little  play  on

              On the Sixth day, God mounted His throne,  logged  onto
         His  terminal,  and  engaged  in a full day of uninterrupted
         1-second turnaround.  He saw all that He had done,  that  it
         was  good.   He  was pleased that from His first Byte He had
         created such a wonderful and extensive toy.  He created file
         after  file,  He  performed  advanced and impressive on-line
         data base updates, He wrote  a  faster  and  more  extensive
         Fortran  compiler, and in general rejoiced in the perfection
         of His I.B.M.

              After a hard day's work on  a  hot  terminal  -  during
         which  man was quitely familiarizing himself with the system
         documentation - God called it  a  day  ("You  I  shall  call
         day..." and so forth) and went to sleep.

              On the Seventh day - so tired was He  from  the  week's
         labors - God slept all day.  What transpired on that crucial
         seventh day is recounted in the "Fall of Man..."

                           THE FALL OF MAN

              Late in the Sixth day of creation, woman called him  at
         work  and  begged  him  to  come home, as dinner was getting
         cold.  Man grudgingly consented, but brought home with him a
         copy of the system documentation to study.

              After dinner, woman cooed some suggestive little  sighs
         and  slipped invitingly into bed.  Man followed, but - being
         beat after a hard day at  the  office  -  fell  straight  to
         sleep.   Woman  had an indescribable inner feeling that this
         was not how things should be on their first night in bed (or
         in existence, for that matter), and disdainfully flung man's
         notebook from the nightstand.  The  book  fell  open  to  an
         important-looking page marked "WARNING" in bold letters.

              Now, woman was possessed of insatiable curiosity.   God
         -   we  must  assume  -  had  been  entirely  familiar  with
         contempary Greek writings on the subject, particularly  with
         the  escapades  of a wayward feminist named Pandora.  At any
         rate, woman picked up the book, and read:  WARNING:  "You  I
         have  created  to  matintatin  application  programs  and to
         operate My beloved I.B.M.  You may partake of My  utilities,
         My  Fortran, My files and tapes and flowcharts.  But with My
  operating system thou shalt not tamper, for to the  user  it
         giveth unlimited MASTER MODE powers..."

              Woman  -  being  as  greedy  as  she  was  beautiful  -
         immediately woke man.  She derided him for his sheepishness,
         for his lack of initiative, for his cowering before a  silly
         machine.   She  filled  his  mind with thoughts of power and
         greed, and instilled in him the resolve to win  for  himself
         all the privileges of the operating system.

              Besides, reasoned woman, as boss, man won't  come  home
         dead tired, and might be worth something after dinner...

              So man  returned  to  work  the  next  day,  intent  on
         breaching  the operating system.  He needled, he patched, he
         disguised clever little traps in his programs  which  -  for
         tantalyzingly  brief  periods  of time - slipped into master
         mode.  By the end of the Seventh day, man was  so  close  to
         mastering  the  operating system that he didn't go home 'til
         very late.  So pleased was he - and so sure that the  coming
         day  would reward him with total control of God's own system
         - that he whistled all the way home, and when he  got  there
         snuck into the bedroom and gave woman a pleasant surprise...

              Early on the Eighth day, man did it.  God  was  on  the
         terminal early, playing blackjack with His computer.  So man
         was able to submit his carefully-prepared batch job  without
         being  noticed.   The  system burped, God's terminal blinked
         once but then all was normal.  Man's heart lept.  It was his
         operating  system  now,  not  God's.   For a moment he stood
         stunned with  the  impact  of  his  move.   Then  -  with  a
         self-assurance   that  only  novice  programmers  can  truly
         appreciate - he seated himself at the  master  console,  and
         pushed   the   attention  key.   His  hands  trembling  with
         excitement, he began to type "DELETE G-O-D".


              Just as He was about to hit the carriage return  -  and
         with  the  system  $500  ahead  in God's blackjack game (God
         holding 20 for a thousand-dollar pot) - the system crashed.

              God was furious.

              "You ignored My warning," said  He  to  man,  as  woman
         wailed  pathetically that she had had nothing to do with it.
         "You violated My beloved system, and dared  think  that  you
         could become as one with God."

              He waved man disdainfully  from  His  sight.   He  then
         reached  into His I.B.M., took a handful of core, mutilated
         it a little, and flung it after man.

              "Go," said He to the slice of core, "and multiply  into
         a  host  of  inferior  systems,  each  more  prostituted and
         glitch-filled than the last.  And perhaps if man's  time  is
         wasted  debugging  inferior  systems, I won't be bothered by

              And that - according to the book of Byte - is  why  the
         world  consists  of two type of computers:  IBM, and all the

              And so it is that certain individuals are born to serve
         God's favorite IBM, while others are condemned to suffer the
         damnation of amateur "other" computer companies.

              But if you're very  good,  and  if  you're  honest  and
         trustworthy  and  like  to  work  twenty hours a day without
         material reward, then you may well hope  that  one  day  you
         will  be  selected  to move up through Xerox to Burroughs to
         Honeywell to Univac to that great system in  the  sky  whose
         initials inspire men to this very day - I.B.M..

Edited by Brad Templeton  Send jokes to {cbosgd,watmath}!looking!funny

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