The Great Debate

An IS manager was aware that ships are addressed as "she" and"her." She often wondered in what gender computers should be addressed. Toanswer that question, she set up two groups of computer experts. The first was comprisedof women, and the second of men.

Each group was asked to recommend whether computers should be referred to in thefeminine gender, or the masculine gender. They were asked to give four reasons for theirrecommendation.

The group of women reported that the computers should be referred to in the masculinegender because:

  1. In order to get their attention, you have to turn them on.
  2. They have a lot of data, but are still clueless.
  3. They are supposed to help you solve problems, but half the time they are the problem.
  4. As soon as you commit to one, you realize that, if you had waited you could have had a better model.

The men, on the other hand, concluded that computers should be referred to in thefeminine gender because:

  1. No one but the Creator understands their internal logic.
  2. The native language they use to communicate with other computers is incomprehensible to everyone else.
  3. Even your smallest mistakes are stored in long-term memory for later retrieval.
  4. As soon as you make a commitment to one, you find yourself spending half your paycheck on accessories for it.

Contributed by Amy B. Dobin


Canterbury, England. A.D. 999. An atmosphere close to panic prevails today throughoutEurope as the millennial year 1000 approaches, bringing with it the so-called "Y1KBug," a menace which, until recently, hardly anyone had ever heard of.

Prophets of doom are warning that the entire fabric of Western Civilization, based asit now is upon monastic computations, could collapse, and that there is not enough time tofix the problem.

Just how did this disaster-in-the-making ever arise? Why did no one anticipate that achange from a three-digit to a four-digit year would throw into total disarray allliturgical chants and all metrical verse in which any date is mentioned?

Every formulaic hymn, prayer, ceremony and incantation dealing with dated events willhave to be re-written to accommodate three extra syllables. All tabular chronologies withthree-space year columns, maintained for generations by scribes using carefully hand-ruledlines on vellum sheets, will now have to be converted to four-space columns, at enormouscost.

In the meantime, the validity of every official event, from baptisms to burials, may becalled into question.

"We should have seen it coming," says Brother Cedric of St. Michael's Abbey,here in Canterbury. "What worries me most is that 'THOUSAND' contains the word'THOU,' which occurs in nearly all our prayers, and, of course, always refers to God.Using it now in the name of the year will seem almost blasphemous, and is bound to causeterrible confusion. Of course, we could always use Latin, but that might be even worse ­the Latin word for 'Thousand' is 'Mille' which is the same as the Latin for 'mile.' Wewon't know whether we're talking about time or distance!"

Stone masons are already threatening to demand a proportional pay increase for havingto carve an extra numeral in all dates on tombstones, cornerstones and monuments. Togetherwith its inevitable ripple effects, this alone could plunge the hitherto-stable medievaleconomy into chaos.

A conference of clerics has been called at Winchester to discuss the entire issue, butdoomsayers are convinced that the matter is now one of personal survival. Many families,in expectation of the worst, are stocking up on holy water and indulgences.

Contributed by Eddie Rabinovitch

Top 5 Excuses Why You Don't Have Your Work Done on Time

  1. Oh ... that's not how you turn Windows off? Oops!
  2. Remember when you told me not to eat near the terminal?
  3. It said press any key ... but I went through every one the maintenance department had, and nothing happened.
  4. What's a non-system disc error mean, anyway?
  5. I'm using Windows 98.

Contributed by Scott Resnick

Wanted: Your humorous anecdotes, quips, jokes, button graffitti or otheroff-the-wall items that you think are appropriate for the HUMOR page. Thecontributor of each item used will receive $25 from ESJ. Send material to: TomSchaffner, ESJ Humor Editor, 1300 Virginia Drive, Suite 400, Fort Washington, PA19034; fax: (215) 643-3901; e-mail:

Must Read Articles