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The Paging Game

paul@atherton.com (Paul Sander)

(computer, chuckle)
From the rec.humor.funny joke archives.

[I got this from my uncle, who works at one of IBM's Silicon Valley labs. I don't know where he got it.]

The Paging Game

Jeff Berryman, University of British Columbia

  1. Each player gets several million “things.”
  2. Things are kept in “crates” that hold 512 things each. Things in the same crate are called “crate-mates.”
  3. Crates are stored either in the “workshop” or a “warehouse.” The workshop is almost always too small to hold all the crates.
  4. There is only one workshop but there may be several warehouses. Everybody shares them.
  5. Each thing has its own “thing number.”
  6. What you do with a thing is to “zark” it. Everybody takes turns zarking.
  7. You can only zark your things, not anybody else's.
  8. Things can only be zarked when they are in the workshop.
  9. Only the “Thing King” knows whether a thing is in the workshop or in a warehouse.
  10. The longer a thing goes without being zarked, the “grubbier” it is said to become.
  11. The way you get things is to ask the Thing King. He only gives out things in multiples of eight. This is to keep the royal overhead down.
  12. The way you zark a thing is to give its thing number. If you give the number of a thing that happens to be in the workshop it gets zarked right away. If it is in a warehouse, the Thing King packs the crate containing your thing back into the workshop. If there is no room in the workshop, he first finds the grubbiest crate in the workshop, whether it be yours or somebody else's, and packs it off with all its crate-mates to a warehouse. In its place he puts the crate containing your thing. Your thing then gets zarked and you never knew that it wasn't in the workshop all along.
  13. Each player's stock of things have the same numbers as everybody else's. The Thing King always knows who owns what thing and whose turn it is, so you can't ever accidentally zark somebody else's thing even if it has the same thing number as one of yours.

Notes

  1. Traditionally, the Thing King sits at a large, segmented table and is attended to by pages (the so-called “table pages”) whose job it is to help the king remember where all the things are and who they belong to.
  2. One consequence of Rule 13 is that everybody's thing numbers will be similar from game to game, regardless of the number of players.
  3. The Thing King has a few things of his own, some of which move back and forth between workshop and warehouse just like anybody else's, but some of which are just too heavy to move out of the workshop.
  4. With the given set of rules, oft-zarked things tend to get kept mostly in the workshop while little-used things stay mostly in a warehouse. This is efficient stock control.
  5. Sometimes even warehouses get full. The Thing King then has to start piling things on the dump out back. This makes the game slower because it takes a long time to get things off the dump when they are needed in the workshop. A forthcoming change in the rules will allow the Thing King to select the grubbiest things in the warehouses and send them to the dump in his spare time, thus keeping the warehouses from getting too full. This means that the most infrequently-zarked things will end up so the Thing King won't have to get things from the dump so often. This should speed up the game when there are a lot of players and the warehouses are getting full.

Long Live the Thing King

[The following appear to have been added later, as they were typed in a different font.]

Notes:

  1. The VM Thing King is considerably stronger than the Thing King of the system described above. He uses crates containing 4096 things.
  2. Recently the Thing King has tired of carrying crates back and forth between the warehouse and the workshop one at a time and has purchased a forklift. When it is someone else's turn to zark their things, the Thing King stacks the grubbiest of your crates on his forklift and hauls them to the warehouse. The warehouse is too small for the forklift to do much maneuvering, so once a stack of crates has been taken to the warehouse it can't be unstacked without bringing it into workshop. This means if you want to zark a thing which is stacked in the warehouse the whole stack of crates must be brought into the workshop. While this might appear to generate a lot of unnecessary crate traffic, it is more than offset by the reduction in the number of trips necessary.

{ed From Multing Magazine}

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