This is, once again, a response to the Node Your Home-Work idea.
This is some log I had to do for an English class sophmore year. The book we were studying was Black Boy, which is Richard Wright's famous autobiography about growing up in the Jim Crow south.
I refer to two incidents which happened that year at my school - one being that a student placed a threat on the computer network that refered to what happened at Columbine High School, and the other was a referal that I got for fiddling with the computers, which I believe was mostly for the paranoia following the previous incident.
The idea of this assignment was to relate your own life to Richard Wright's. All the quotes are from Black Boy.
This makes more sense if you have actually read Black Boy, but may still be interesting to you even if you haven't.
Authority. Hahaha. Justice. Hahaha.
Parallel lines, railroad tracks, when you gaze at them they appear to meet in the distance. As you follow them a while, you soon learn that this is merely an illusion. Rather, a delusion. A joke, hahaha. Laugh on the inside, if you will.
The idea is: “Alienation”.
Getting the switch ready; finding a suitable branch.
It was four lines of code that brought me into the dean’s office with a fresh referral in my hand. I was still laughing a bit, as the shear injustice of the matter seemed self-evident. It would be cleared up quickly, with a laugh and a pat on the back. They hand you your lollipop and you go home happy.
Look back - you might have seen the reflection of the stars in my eyes. Hahaha.
Looking back, I was bored. The assignment in the computer programming class was ungodly simple, and I felt no inclination to waste my time doing it, not that day at least. I looked through help file. I found a command called “SHELL.” Sounded interesting. Type type.
The screen went into that familiar DOS black, with it’s odd screen resolution and all. I laughed a little, amused that despite everything, Windows is still a petty, DOS based system. No one else really got the joke. Type type.
DO UNTIL A$ = “exit”
When the prompt came up I typed “dir \p \w” and watched as DOS came back on the monitor. Interesting. I didn’t kick me out of DOS this time, and the DOS prompt was up - cool. My first thought was if I would be able to use the Disk Operating System commands in my programs.
The teacher saw this.
A fresh referral, and a walk to the dean’s office.
I didn’t get a chance to see if the command would work well in any programs.
(“I entered school escorted by a teacher, under arrest.”)
The idea is: “Making you sweat.”
The preamble; of fast explanations (excuses?) and loud silent responses.
I gave the referral to some nameless voice and sat down in the gray plastic chair. I got out my copy of the “The Fountainhead” by Ayn Rand. I waited and read.
This particular copy was an abused paperback. With the front cover taped on and the spine permanently curved, it look perturbed.
This particular copy was one that I had bought for fifty cents at the Library.
This particular copy was the one I bought the day the school was evacuated due to the threat which was posted on the computer.
A few paranoid thoughts slapped me around, and I was told to go into the deans office. I would plead my case. A misunderstanding, yeah. Hahaha, the stars in my eyes.
(“I’m not going to let anybody beat me,” I said stoutly.”)
The idea is: “La! La! La! I can’t hear you!”
The joke; Walls are more interesting than what you have to say.
I realized I was doomed when the dean said, “Let’s not get technical about this!”
I was more than slightly distressed that my executioner was illiterate. -Excuse me, for a minute, I have to teach this hamster how to fly a plane -
I tried to explain how, yes, I understand that I am authorized to use just one program, and I was, yes I was in DOS - no, no, I was still using my authorized program - it’s called a shell, no big deal, you see? Four lines of code! Oh, wait - what’s the point ?
The dean never looked at me as I tried to explain the situation.
Harlan Ellison would say, “I have no mouth and I must scream.”
I would have agreed.
The Dean said : “You have a four hour Saturday detention. You are no longer allowed to use the computers here except for your two classes that require them - second and seventh hour. If you use them otherwise, you get a ten day suspension - I really should be giving you a suspension now.”
Thanks, you’re ever so kind. It’s good that you’re so kind with your sentencing, especially since you have no idea what I did. Four lines of code! HA HA HA!
(“ I held out my hand, vowing that never again would this happen to me, no matter what the price....I sat. I was sure of one thing: I would not be beaten by her again.”)
The Idea is: “This is a punishment.”
The Punchline; It’s a school, so we treat you like a prisonor.
What really ended up making me laugh was how paranoid they were. A four hour detention, one hour for each line. On my first detention ever. Amusing, for if I was so interested, ‘they’ really couldn’t stop me from doing anything to the computers. The security is nonexistent. Punishing me would do nothing that would help them. Or me. It just looks kindly on paper. Dead-tree justice.
I suppose that’s the idea. So that they can look into the distance and see where my line an their’s intersect. Lovely delusion. Railroad tracks. Choo-Choo!
I spent the detention mad and frustrated. Pointless.
I think I know one other person who knows the feeling.
Authority. Justice. Ha ha ha.
(“’You’re bad,’ he said. ‘You better watch your steps, young man, or you’ll end up on the gallows.’”)