Everything Else

A Helix Christmas Carol

24 December 2004—At this time of year, we go up into attics, or down into basements, drag the holiday stuff from its year long cocoon, dust it off and put it up. Every once in a while, you dust off some gem you haven't seen in ages. In this season's sorting through the electronic archives and virtual flotilla of Helix debris that has accumulated since its early days, just such an ancient gem emerged.

Twelve years ago, a group of Helix developers and friends were attempting to create a group holiday message. Someone in the group found a computer-age fable called The Night Before Crisis on a bulletin board. It was a take off on the holiday favorite, 'Twas The Night Before Christmas, originally thought to have been written by Clement Clarke Moore, but later discovered to have really been called Account of a Visit from St. Nicholas and written by Major Henry Livingston Jr. (1748-1828).

By updating the language a bit, changing some of its thoroughly PC-based argot to something more familiar to our own Helix users and rearranging some of the stanzas, we believed we had it.

We tried to find the authors of the original fable to give credit where credit was due, but were unable--now and even in 1992--to locate them. If any of you can point us in the right direction, we will be happy to append that credit to this page.

If we have infringed in any way upon the author's rights, we will prostrate ourselves before them and beg forgiveness, in the spirit of the season...;^)

Happy holidays to all our users and friends.

The Helix Recovery Team

T'was the night before crisis,
And all through the house,
Not one thing was working,
Not even a mouse.

Programmers were strung out,
In a hundred-yard stare,
For installing that night
Just hadn't a prayer.

The users were nestled
All snug in their beds,
While visions of "oh-ess-ten"
Danced in their heads.

When out in the lobby
There arose such a clatter,
That I sprang from my cube
To see what was the matter.

And what to my wondering
Eyes should appear,
But a master tile slinger,
Oblivious to fear.

His eyes were glazed over,
His fingers were lean,
From weekends and nights
Spent in front of a screen.

But with a wink of his eye,
And a twist of his head,
He gave me to know
I had nothing to dread.

He spoke not a word,
But went straight to the task,
Turning specs into code,
Giving all that was asked.

He tested each whistle,
He tested each bell,
It ducked every missle,
The work had gone well.

His structures evolved,
And his Sequences came
And he snorted and shouted
And called them by name.

Go Update! Go Enter!
Go Query and Delete!
Option Zero! Post All!
And the closing's Complete!

The system was finished,
The tests were concluded,
The client's last changes
Were even included!

And laying a finger
Upon ENTER's key,
The system came up,..

...and it worked flawlessly!

Posted records updated;
And deletes were deleted;
The queries inquired;
And the closing completed.

And the client exclaimed,
With a snarl and a taunt,
"It's just what I asked for,
But it's not what I want!"

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