Midnight Dreary

With apologies to Edgar Allan Poe…

Once upon a midnight dreary,
Fingers cramped and vision bleary,
System manuals piled high
And wasted paper on the floor,
Longing for the warmth of bedsheets,
Still I sat there, doing spreadsheets.
Having reached the bottom line,
I took a floppy from the drawer.
Typing with a steady hand,
I then invoked the save command
But got instead a reprimand:
It read “Abort, Retry, Ignore.”

Was this some occult illusion?
Some maniacal intrusion?
These were choices Solomon himself
Had never faced before.
Carefully, I weighed my options.
These three seemed to be the top ones.
Clearly I must now adopt one:
Choose “Abort, Retry, Ignore.”

With my fingers pale and trembling,
Slowly toward the keyboard bending,
Longing for a happy ending,
Hoping all would be restored,
Praying for some guarantee,
Finally I pressed a key—
But on the screen what did I see?
Again: “Abort, Retry, Ignore.”

I tried to catch the chips off-guard—
I pressed again, but twice as hard.
Luck was just not in the cards.
I saw what I had seen before.
Now I typed in desperation,
Trying random combinations.
Still there came the incantation:
Choose: “Abort, Retry, Ignore.”

There I sat, distraught, exhausted,
By my own machine accosted;
Getting up, I turned away
And paced across the office floor.
And then I saw an awful sight:
A bold and blinding flash of light,
A lightning bolt that cut the night
And shook me to my very core.
The PC screen collapsed and died.
“Oh no—my database,” I cried.
I thought I heard a voice reply,
“You'll see your data—Nevermore!”

To this day I do not know
The place to which lost data goes.
Perhaps it goes to heaven
Where the angels have it stored.
But as for productivity, well,
I fear that it goes straight to hell.
And that's the tale I have to tell—
Your choice: “Abort, Retry, Ignore.”

Plain text version