The Ballad of TECH1 Alan

by Alan Alexander-Manifold

15 October 1993

(to the tune of Barbra Allyn)

Oh, it was in a college town,
A poor TECH1 sat cryin',
Poor Alan knew he'd lost this time;
His system, it was dyin'.

A call to NOTIS did no good
Though they were sympathizin',
But then a NOTIS sales rep called,
"Why don't you buy Horizon?"

His Dean agreed and found the cash:
A sum that few could measure.
"This better work," the Dean declared,
"Or you'll taste my displeasure!"

The hardware quickly was installed,
And UNIX even faster;
Despite the warnings he had heard,
It was not hard to master.

Horizon software came at last,
A month or two belated.
"Instructions will be coming soon,"
The cover letter stated.

When they had finally arrived,
Poor Alan read them quickly;
When nothing worked the way they said,
He started feeling sickly.

And then at last, one dreadful day
Poor Alan got a memo:
The Dean would come in one week's time
For an Horizon demo.

So Alan slaved both night and day,
Without a thought of sleepin',
And progress came, albeit slow,
As that dread day came creepin'.

The morning of the demo came,
And things were almost working,
But Alan could not even guess
What trouble might be lurking.

The Dean walked in at 10:00 o'clock,
And Alan said, "It's ready."
He uttered not another word,
His voice was too unsteady.

First Alan pointed, then he clicked;
Horizon slowly loaded.
The welcome screen had just appeared,
When the machine exploded.

The Dean was killed, and Alan knew
That his own death was comin',
But shrapnel pierced the mainframe's heart,
And it, too, ceased its hummin'.

They laid the late Dean in her grave,
And piled the earth upon her,
But next to Alan were both machines
Interred in signal honour.

From that Dean's heart grew a money plant,
As if the gods were jokin',
And no leaf-coin would it let fall,
'Till flattering words were spoken.

The mainframe worked as well in death
As it had done while running:
Not even grass grew on that plot,
All life its presence shunning.

But from Horizon sprang a vine
With grapes as sweet as honey,
From which they make a wine worth more
Than any sum of money.

And over Alan barley grows;
The crop could not be thicker.
The hops they harvest from that plot
Produce a fine malt liquor.

You TECH1s listen to this song,
The moral's not surprisin':
Just keep the Dean between yourself
And any new Horizon.