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Writings

The Dungeon Master

Welcome to Erratic Computers, may I help you?

“Welcome to Erratic Computers, may I help you?”

“I’m here to see Mike Droop.”

“That’s ‘Duke’.”

“Oh, I’m sorry. ‘Duke’.” 

“You may have a chair. It will only be a minute.”

“Thank you.”


“It should only be a minute.”

“Thank you.” 


“It should only be a minute.”

“Thank you.” 


“It should only be a minute.”

“Thank you.” 


“Hi! I’m Mike Duke, the greatest engineer that ever evolved from primordial slime. And who the hell are you?”

“I am Johnny Iowa, the stupid and unemployed and I have come today to properly grovel before your greatness so that you will give me a job.” 

“Come this way. Let’s go on a quick tour of Erratic Computers’ beautiful new complex located on top of some of the finest land-fill in Mountain View. In this room we have our in-house computers.” 

“Wow! There are eight of them! And they’ve all got cute names: Dragon, Bugs, Daffy, Moe, Larry, and Curly.” 

“Dragon is my machine. I am a black belt in Karate and was the M.I.T. dungeon master, class of 1981! Over here is a conference room named after Marconi. We have others named after Babbage, Boole, Hollerith, and other computer greats. Have a seat underneath the spotlight over there. These are just restraining straps for your protection. Are they too tight?” 

“Uh, no.”

“Good. Now design a RISC machine from scratch.”

“Well, I guess you’d start will a …”


“You’re an idiot! You left out the macro instruction decode logic! You fool! Don’t you understand anything!?”

“Sorry. I didn’t think looking up a microcode entry address in a PROM was that big of a deal.” 

“I see. It shows me how deficient you are a computer professional. Perhaps you could pass a simpler test of logic. Suppose there are four persons.” 

“Okay.” 

“How would you get them all to agree upon the design of a sixth generation machine with 65,536 parallel processors?” 

“If you could get four people to agree upon anything, it would be a miracle!” 

“You have a very negative attitude. Are you sick? Are you about to have a complete nervous breakdown? Are you having marital problems. I want to understand you. I want to have a Gestalt feel for you.” 

“You touch my Gestalt, and it’s all over for you, clown! I don’t see what any of this has to do with diagnostics.”

“Diagnostics! Diagnostics! Diagnostics are a very bad evil!”

“Yes, I know, but…”

“Diagnostics are a very bad evil!”

“Are you alright?” 

“Diagnostics are a very bad evil!”

“Snap out of it, man!” 

“Diagnostics are a very bad evil! Diagnostics are a very bad evil! Diagnostics are a very bad evil! Diagnostics are a very bad evil! Diagnostics are a very bad evil!”