A Seussian Salve for Computer Woes
Ever wonder who really wrote the Seuss-like poem that tells us "the socket packet pocket has an error to report?" Well, Dr. Eugene Ziegler, aka Dr. Zseuss, wrote the piece when his grandsons "significantly rearranged the resources on my Macintosh." -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- If you spend much time on the internet – and evidently you do because you've found your way to this article – at some time it is likely that someone has dropped into your email box a poem about computer woes, which seemed to have been channeled by Dr. Seuss but was credited to anonyseuss or some such character. As one who spends as much time on my laptop as a moose eats berries, when my computer demonstrates suspect, disobliging behavior, I endure an unspeakable temptation to commit computerly harm. Many a time, thoughts of the "socket packet pocket" have raised me from my grievous fault to mea culpa and patient pampering of my object of dependence. Not long ago, as the Disk Defragger defragged, and the Error-checker checked, and the File fixer fixed, I plotted to find the author and thank him for the virtual tonic that soothes my savage fingers. And Google him, I did. We have Dr. Eugene (Gene) Ziegler, the true Zseuss, a former Dean at Cornell University to thank for the verse. However, Gene informs that we were not the intended recipients; our gratitude must also extend to his grandsons as the inspirers. "It was created in an hour, late one night in the fall of 1994, after my four year old grandson and his older brother had significantly rearranged the resources on my Macintosh." Since it's creation, the piece has traveled around the world – occasionly with Gene's credit and consent. The poem has been used by journalists; teachers; speech therapists; musicians – once by a rapper, by another in an opera. It has been sold on plaques; recited on an Australian talk show; and read in the closing moments of a Vancouver TV Show, "Data Cafe." With thanks to Gene for permission to tell his story and post his pieces in their entirety, I give you the complete and unadulterated version of the poem followed by Gene's rebuttal to the scoundrel who amputated it's upper half and sent it hither and thither round the world. A GRANDCHILD'S GUIDE TO USING GRANDPA'S COMPUTER Bits Bytes Chips Clocks Bits in bytes on chips in box. Bytes with bits and chips with clocks. Chips in box on ether-docks. Chips with bits come. Chips with bytes come. Chips with bits and bytes and clocks come. Look, sir. Look, sir. read the book, sir. Let's do tricks with bits and bytes, sir. Let's do tricks with chips and clocks, sir. First, I'll make a quick trick bit stack. Then I'll make a quick trick byte stack. You can make a quick trick chip stack. You can make a quick trick clock stack. And here's a new trick on the scene. Bits in bytes for your machine. Bytes in words to fill your screen. Now we come to ticks and tocks, sir. Try to say this by the clock, sir. Clocks on chips tick. Clocks on chips tock. Eight byte bits tick. Eight bit bytes tock. Clocks on chips with eight bit bytes tick. Chips with clocks and eight byte bits tock. Here's an easy game to play. Here's an easy thing to say.... If a packet hits a pocket on a socket on a port, and the bus is interrupted as a very last resort, and the address of the memory makes your floppy disk abort then the socket packet pocket has an error to report! If your cursor finds a menu item followed by a dash, and the double-clicking icon puts your window in the trash, and your data is corrupted cause the index doesn't hash, then your situation's hopeless, and your system's gunna crash. You can't say this? What a shame, sir! We'll find you another game, sir. If the label on the cable on the table at your house says the network is connected to the button on your mouse, but your packets want to tunnel on another protocol, that's repeatedly rejected by the printer down the hall, and your screen is all distorted by the side-effects of gauss, so your icons in the window are as wavy as a souse, then you may as well reboot and go out with a bang, cause as sure as I'm a poet, the sucker's gunna hang! When the copy of your floppy's getting sloppy on the disk, and the microcode instructions cause unnecessary risc, then you have to flash your memory and you'll want to RAM your ROM. quickly turn off your computer and be sure to tell your mom! (God bless you Dr. Seuss wherever you are!) Reprint or repost only with permission. ©1994 Eugene Ziegler, Ph D A year later, frustrated by the hijacking and mutilation of the poem, Gene responded with an innocuous and appropriate vengeance: "A poetic appeal for respect for another's written words, provoked by abuses of 'Grandchild's Guide.' This one has been adopted by various writing programs and teachers groups around the world to teach internet publishing ethics." HANG THE INFORMATION HIGHWAYMAN! When a party writes a poem and he puts it on the net, He writes for love not money, and he takes what he can get. He writes to bring you pleasure, that's the nature of the game. He writes for recognition and he's sure to sign his name. I wrote the poem in question, but this will make you laugh, the version circulating, is my work cut in half! Someone didn't like it, I guess that's a cinch. It passed around the internet, until it met the Grinch. I've never met the miscreant who edited my work, but when I close my eyes and try, I can see the jerk! The eyes are tiny pixels, close together you will find, they're only separated by his narrow little mind. His fingernails are dirty as he types on sticky keys, He lurks around the network and takes whatever he sees. He edits, chops, appropriates, and strips away my name, A scoundrel on the internet, a lowdown dirty shame. I'd like to find this filcher, so I'll offer this reward. I'll give away my Mac SE, throw in the power cord. If you will help me track him down and hang his internets This information highwayman deserves what'er he gets. And if we fail to find him, I'll hit him with a curse. His hard disk will start spinning counter-clockwise in reverse. His screen will start to flicker, and his mouse will chase a hearse. I'll teach that hacking larcenist to tamper with my verse! If you want to see my uncut work, take heart, it's still alive It's in NetGuide, page eighty-six, for March of ninty-five. © 1995 Gene Ziegler The NetGuide link is no longer viable but you have just read the complete poems, and if you remain insatiable, you can enjoy more of Dr. Zseuss's fanciful writings in his Digital Clocktower at Cornell http://www.people.cornell.edu/pages/elz1/clocktower. Now retired from Cornell University, Gene Ziegler is President of GIS Photo, LLC, a geo-spatial imagery startup. Gene is also current Director of Information Technology at the W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University. In his fun time, Gene goes castle hopping and gallivanting across Europe with his wife, "who is my treasure and my joy," as well as a professional photographer and IT. "I have lots of notes and photos that must surely find their way into an additional online story."