I'm sorry, dear reader, but I'm afraid I'm in a bit of a "blue funk" this
month. There's an awful lot going on, it seems, and I don't
understand most of it. I'm confused, angry, irritable, way behind in my
work, and quite probably suffering from the after-effects of an alien
abduction or some such.... What a drag.
Take this column, for instance. For the life of me, I simply can't
imagine that my few words here are going to make even a tiny bit of
difference to anyone, anywhere, ever.
At best, I am probably just contributing to the world's ever-expanding
quota of irrelevant and meaningless noise, doing my bit to lower society's
cumulative signal-to-noise ratio even further below the audible threshold.
At worst, I imagine that my Cubist Threads are being used to torture
captured enemy translators and aspiring magazine editors...
Cut to a dank concrete dungeon, smelling of stagnant correction fluid
and illuminated only by a single 100-watt bulb swinging from the
acoustic-tiled ceiling. A figure is seated at an old formica desk, the only
furniture in the room, as another figure raises a sheaf of papers high
overhead as if to strike...
"Edit this!" shouts the interrogator, spittle spewing from his
sputtering spout, as he slams the first draft of my December, 2001, foosball
column down on the gruesomely ink-stained table. "...and be quick about it!"
"No! Oh, no! Please! I can't take another mixed metaphor or dangling
participle from this, this lunatic! AIYEEEE!" The hapless editor vainly
struggles against the tightly wound Web of mailing labels strapping her to
the stiff wooden chair.
"Only a blithering, certified, four-star goofball could come up with
such a load of worthless hogwash!" she wails. Her eyes dart madly around the
room, vainly searching for solace or escape; finding none, they flutter
closed in a desperate swoon.
A dark figure, wearing a kilt, steps quietly from the shadows. Tightly
clutching a handful of unsharpened #2 pencils, he motions the interrogator
to move aside. "I'll take over," he says, "this situation calls for extreme
The dark figure grasps one of his #2 pencils tightly, raises it
ominously overhead, and viciously stabs it directly down into an old
electric pencil sharpener, eraser end first.
The grinding of mangled metal snaps the swooning editor back to painful
consciousness, but something is strangely different about her. An intense
light of reason and clarity shines from her eyes. It is as though she
swooned as one person, and returned as another calmed by some Muse of
Reason during her unconscious respite.
"All I have to do is edit this, right?" she asks. The dark figure nods,
and hands over this month's Cubist Thread. The editor scans the text, smiles
once at the ceiling, and quietly goes utterly and completely mad.
Wow. Where did that come from? My funk is apparently even deeper than I
I guess I picked a bad week to quit smoking.
Blair Wyman is a software engineer working for IBM in Rochester, Minnesota,
home of the IBM iSeries.