It’s Finally Friday again, so it’s time for a little fun. This is a piece I’ve had living in my files since 1995. That makes it pretty out-of-date, but it’s such a classic that it’s worth preserving and giving another airing. It does require remembering the lore of the computer middle ages (the 1980s).
The copy I have is from a USENET post © by Sean Sengenberger. It’s not entirely clear whether he (or possibly, she) just posted a piece found online or if Sean actually wrote it. (Some folks back then explicitly copyrighted their posts.) In any event, credit given where credit is due.
Without further ado, I give you…
The Tale of the Pea Sea
Long ago, in the days when all disks flopped in the breeze and the writing of words was on a star, the Blue Giant dug for the people the Pea Sea. But he needed a creature who could sail the waters, and would need for support but few rams.
So the Gateskeeper, who was said to be both micro and soft, fashioned a Dosfish, who was small and spry, and could swim the narrow sixteen-bit channel. But the Dosfish was not bright, and could be taught few new tricks. His alphabet had no A’s, B’s, or Q’s, but a mere 640 K’s, and the size of his file cabinet was limited by his own fat.
At first the people loved the Dosfish, for he was the only one who could swim the Pea Sea. But the people soon grew tired of commanding his line, and complained that he could be neither dragged nor dropped. “Forsooth,” they cried. “the Dosfish can only do one job at a time, and of names, he knows only eight and three.” And many of them left the Pea Sea for good, and went off in search of the Magic Apple.
Although many went, far more stayed, because admittance to the Pea Sea was cheap. So the Gateskeeper studied the Magic Apple, and rested awhile in the Parc of Xer-Ox, and he made a Window that could ride on the Dosfish and do its thinking for it. But the Window was slow, and it would break when the Dosfish got confused. So most people contented themselves with the Dosfish.
Now it came to pass that the Blue Giant came upon the Gateskeeper, and spoke thus: “Come, let us make of ourselves something greater than the Dosfish.” The Blue Giant seemed like a humbug, so they called the new creature OZ II.
Now Oz II was smarter than the Dosfish, as most things are. It could drag and drop, and could keep files without becoming fat. But the people cared for it not. So the Blue Giant and the Gateskeeper promised another OZ II, to be called Oz II Too, that could swim the fast new 32-bit wide Pea Sea.
Then lo, a strange miracle occurred. Although the Window that rode on the Dosfish was slow, it was pretty, and the third Window was the prettiest of all. And the people began to like the third Window, and to use it. So the Gateskeeper turned to the Blue Giant and said, “Fie on thee, for I need thee not. Keep thy OZ II Too, and I shall make of my Window an Entity that will not need the Dosfish, and will swim in the 32-bit Pea Sea.”
Years passed, and the workshops of the Gateskeeper and the Blue Giant were overrun by insects. And the people went on using their Dosfish with a Window; even though the Dosfish would from time to time become confused and die, it could always be revived with three fingers.
Then there came a day when the Blue Giant let forth his OZ II Too onto the world. The Oz II Too was indeed mighty, and awesome, and required a great ram, and the world was changed not a whit. For the people said, “It is indeed great, but we see little application for it.” And they were doubtful, because the Blue Giant had met with the Magic Apple, and together they were fashioning a Taligent, and the Taligent was made of objects, and was most pink.
Now the Gateskeeper had grown ambitious, and as he had been ambitious before he grew, he was now more ambitious still. So he protected his Window Entity with great security, and made its net work both in serving and with peers. And the Entity would swim, not only in the Pea Sea, but in the Oceans of Great Risk. “Yea,” the Gateskeeper declared, “though my entity will require a greater ram than Oz II Too, it will be more powerful than a world of Eunuchs.”
And so the Gateskeeper prepared to unleash his Entity to the world, in all but two cities. For he promised that a greater Window, a greater Entity, and even a greater Dosfish would appear one day in Chicago and Cairo, and it too would be built of objects.
Now the Eunuchs who lived in the Oceans of Great Risk, and who scorned the Pea Sea, began to look upon their world with fear. For the Pea Sea had grown, and great ships were sailing in it, the Entity was about to invade their oceans, and it was rumored that files would be named in letters greater than eight. And the Eunuchs looked upon the Pea Sea, and many of them thought to immigrate.
Within the Oceans of Great Risk were many Sun Worshippers, and they wanted to excel, and make their words perfect, and do their jobs as easy as one-two-three. And what’s more, many of them no longer wanted to pay for the Risk. So the Sun Lord went to the Pea Sea, and got himself eighty-sixed.
And taking the next step was He of the NextStep, who had given up building his boxes of black. And he proclaimed loudly that he could help anyone make wondrous soft wares, then admitted meekly that only those who know him could use those wares, and he was made of objects, and required the biggest ram of all.
And the people looked out upon the Pea Sea, and they were sore amazed. And sore confused. And sore sore. And that is why, to this day, Ozes, Entities, and Eunuchs battle on the shores of the Pea Sea, but the people still travel on the simple Dosfish.