Them Devil Computers
Linda Branagan has a t-shirt that sports the daemon in tennis shoes that
appears on the cover of the Free BSD manuals. She tells the following story
about her adventures in Texas while wearing the shirt:
Last week I walked into a local "home style cookin' restaurant/watering
hole" in Texas to pick up a take-out order. I spoke briefly to the
waitress behind the counter, who told me my order would be done in a few
So, while I was busy gazing at the farm implements hanging on the walls,
I was approached by two "natives." These guys might just be the original
"Pardon us, ma'am. Mind if we ask you a question?"
Well, people keep telling me that Texans are real friendly, so I nodded.
"Are you a Satanist?"
Well, at least they didn't ask me if I liked to party.
"Uh, no, I can't say that I am."
"Gee, ma'am. Are you sure about that?" they asked.
I put on my biggest, brightest Dallas Cowboys cheerleader smile and
said, "No, I'm positive. The closest I've ever come to Satanism is
"Hmmm. Interesting. See, we was just wondering why it is you have the
Lord of Darkness on your chest there."
I was this close to slapping one of them and causing a scene -- then I
stopped and noticed the shirt I happened to be wearing that day. Sure
enough, it had a picture of a small, devilish-looking creature that has for
some time now been associated with a certain operating system. In this
particular representation, the creature was wearing sneakers.
They continued: "See, ma'am, we don't exactly appreciate it when people
show off pictures of the devil. Especially when he's lookin' so
These idiots sounded terrifyingly serious.
Me: "Oh, well, see, this isn't really the devil, it's just, well, it's
sort of a mascot."
Native: "And what kind of football team has the devil as a mascot?"
Me: "Oh, it's not a team. It's an operating -- uh, a kind of
I figured that an ATM machine was about as much technology as these guys
could handle, and I knew that if I so much as uttered the word "UNIX" I
would only make things worse.
Native: "Where does this satanical computer come from?"
Me: "California. And there's nothing satanical about it really."
Somewhere along the line here, the waitress noticed my predicament --
but these guys probably outweighed her by 600 pounds, so all she did was
look at me sympathetically and run off into the kitchen.
Native: "Ma'am, I think you're lying. And we'd appreciate it if you'd
leave the premises now."
Fortunately, the waitress returned that very instant with my order, and
they agreed that it would be okay for me to actually pay for my food before
I left. While I was at the cash register, they amused themselves by
talking to each other.
Native #1: "Do you think the police know about these devil computers?"
Native #2: "If they come from California, then the FBI oughta know
They escorted me to the door. I tried one last time: "You're really
blowing this all out of proportion. A lot of people use this `kind of
computers.' Universities, researchers, businesses. They're actually very
Big, big, BIG mistake. I should have guessed at what came next.
Native: "Does the government use these devil computers?"
Me: "Yes." Another BIG boo-boo.
Native: "And does the government pay for 'em? With our tax dollars?"
I decided that it was time to jump ship.
Me: "No. Nope. Not at all. Your tax dollars never entered the
picture at all. I promise. No sir, not a penny. Our good Christian
congressmen would never let something like that happen. Nope. Never. Bye."
Texas. What a country.