Helen Keller mode = H = hello, wall!

hello sailor! interj.

Occasional West Coast equivalent of hello world; seems to have originated at SAIL, later associated with the game Zork (which also included "hello, aviator" and "hello, implementor"). Originally from the traditional hooker's greeting to a swabbie fresh off the boat, of course. The standard response is "Nothing happens here."; of all the Zork/Dungeon games, only in Infocom's Zork 3 is "Hello, Sailor" actually useful (excluding the unique situation where _knowing_ this fact is important in Dungeon...).

--The Jargon File version 4.3.1, ed. ESR, autonoded by rescdsk.

"Hello Sailor" is the catchphrase easily recognized by legions of Zork fans. This phrase, originally used by hookers to grab the attention of -- you guessed it, sailors, made it into the entire trilogy of Zork works. Generally, the phrase is useless, provoking a "Nothing happens here." It became something of a running joke among Zork fans for a long time, and is easily the most famous phrase of the series. (Although "Hello Footpad" occasionally gets a clever response too.)

In Zork 3, you must wait for a Viking ship. If you say the phrase before it arrives, you are told, "Nothing happens yet." -- after, "Nothing happens anymore." But if you should happen to say it to the Viking ship...

The seaman looks up and maneuvers the boat toward shore. He cries out "I have waited three ages for someone to say those words and save me from sailing this endless ocean. Please accept this gift. You may find it useful!" He throws something which falls near you in the sand, then sails off toward the west, singing a lively, but somewhat uncouth, sailor song.

Incidentally, there is also a sailor at the beginning of "Beyond Zork", to whom you can also gain a useful item by saying this phrase.

The phrase dates back to Zork I

Two games earlier, in Zork I, there is a sequence in which one must acquire and make proper use of a bell, a book, and a candle. If you merely look at the book, it seems to be "a Philippic against small insects", among other things. If you should happen to read the book, the following text appears:

O ye who go about saying unto each, "Hello Sailor":
Dost thou know the magnitude of thy sin before the gods?
Yea, verily, thou shalt be ground between two stones.
Shall the angry gods cast thy body into the whirlpool?
Surely, thy eye shall be put out with a sharp stick!
Even unto the ends of the earth shalt thou wander and
Unto the land of the dead shalt thou be sent at last.
Surely thou shalt repent of thy cunning.

This text turns out to be useful not only for the "Hello Sailor". Its other importance must be glimpsed in order to make it through Zork I.

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