From: Mary J. Alderdice 
Newsgroups: bofh.general
Subject: How the Bastard Operator Came Amongst His Children
Date: Tue Nov 25 13:08:51 1997

...of the ancient days of Adminhood, and how Our Time came to pass in this
age of the world.


                  By Chad Robinson, BOFH 
great thanx to Eric Sorensen, BOFH, for editorial commentary

00. Sit back, my children, and let me tell you a story of Might and Power.
    A story of the One who delivered us from Darkness into the Glorious 
    Light of our chosen Profession.

01. Way back in the Darkest Ages of this new world,

02. say, 1970,

03  Our People, the System and Network Administrators, were among the
    lowest children under the Heavens. 

04  We had no arms, and could not grasp for a better life. We had no legs,
    and could not walk upright across this world as men, but were forced 
    to crawl upon our bellies, even as the lowly serpent. And dust was our

05. Mighty was the User, and fickle, and presumtuous. Unheedful of the
    Administrator, was he, and abusive of the System upon which he worked.

06. And Our People, who feasted on dust and mud, had a mantra which was
    our only right and providence in this world. It was the first thing
    we screamed with our pink, new lungs upon entering the bleak and
    tainted Earth. It was the last statement dragged from our black and
    rusted throats upon departing this plain for our Eternal Punishment.
    It was our only weapon in a realm which knew no pity and no gratitude,
    and it was that phrase most often uttered from our dripping, filth
    encrusted jaws.

07. That mantra was "Oh, shit."

08. Little would this hollow statement shelter us from the elements, and
    faint protection could it offer from the lashings and tortured,
    animal questions of our Users. Nothing but a thin blanket of shame
    did it offer; and often did we find ourselves, alone, lonely, cowering
    under our laminate topped particleboard desks like infants and
    wimpering the mantra from chilly lips, where the dreaded words
    "You have new mail" flashed malevolently at us, and the Users laughed
    our our sallow lamentations.

09. It appeared as though our lot were cast in steel and plastic as strong
    and cold as that which housed the microcircuits which earned our
    meager ration of two loaves of flat stale bread and a thermos of
    coffee each week. 

0A. And even as our numbers swelled to feed the bloated, mindless hordes
    of Users, so did our misery grow till even all the vast tomes of
    the regional and international standards committees could not hold
    the tales of our woes. For scarce could one draw breath without the
    Users putting magnets on the Great Disks, or spilling mead in the

0B. And ever were we called upon to restore the bits and bytes of floppy
    disks which had been used as coasters, or punch cards folded into
    many pieces and left carelessly in laundry baskets.

0C. Below the Great Towers of the Coasts, the campuses of Cambridge and
    Palo Alto, in sacred groves far from the prying eyes of our cruel
    Users, the Administrators would meet and raise their voices to the
    Heavens crying:

0D. "Please! Haynie and Cray, Please Kerninghan, and Ritchie, please! Do
    not forsake us, your forgotten children! We who strive only to make
    your favored children's lives more efficient and uncluttered! We who
    clean up after their blemishes and, with quiet pride do allow their
    great tasks to be more easily accomplished!"

0E. But the gods turned a deaf ear to their forgotten children, and 
    dreamed their dreams of a day when we would not be needed: when
    all would be so easily done that no one need maintain the great
    machines and the endless miles of cable which allowed them to speak,
    each unto the other. And the decades turned.

0F. Then, in the earliest part of this current decade, one of our
    bretheren tired of beseeching the Heavens. He grew weary of his meager
    rations: cold coffee and flat, nearly toppingless bread. The endless
    hours spent hunting for the latest flaw in production software, or
    tracking down the heedlessly duplicated network addresses somewhere in
    the dark pool of the secretaries.

10. So it came to pass that one day a paper envelope was delivered unto
    his desk demanding that he account for why he had never taken his
    two week vacation in all his years of toil, and vehemently informing
    him that his gross transgression would earn him two weeks of unpaid
    leave, effective imediately. He did not take his tale to the cruel
    masters in Human Resources, but instead packed him up his meager 
    belongings and crawled away from the campus.

11. Without stopping did he pass the groves of lamentation and beyond
    the trammeled realms of his Caste and enter into the unknown lands

12. Since he was without pay, even the flat bread and thermos which were
    his normal due, he placed himself outside a delicatessen, and there
    fasted for many days and nights.

13. In the glowing neon illuminate of that eatery did our brother enter
    into a state of consciousness none had travelled before and felt
    his spirit cleansed with fire and electricity as he walked with
    two legs down paths none has travelled then or since. 

14. After a time, he came before a golden throne inset with voltage meters
    and punchdown tools, RJ-45 crimpers and fiber splicers, reference
    manuals, cotton swabs, freon canisters and all the other tools of our

15. And seated on the throne was a Beast of pure darkness, wrapped from
    head to feet in purest shadow, save for its eyes which glowed like
    bluest LEDs and told of uncollided traffic approaching wire speed.

16. And the Beast gazed upon our Brother for a timeless instant, before
    speaking in a voice like read heads chewing through a VP's personal
    kiddie pr0n collection. It said:

17. "Lo, my son. None shall look after you, the fatherless children of
    this brave new world. And none shall give you chocolate covered
    coffee beans when you are weary. And you shall never see a stock
    option nor a raise in salary. And you shall ever eat dust and flat,
    stale bread with no toppings. And you shall pass in obscurity even
    as you were born. This is how it was written in the days before
    your kind were even created."

18. And our brother knew this to be one of the dark gods who lingers in
    the bowels of fire and passes no judgement upon the wills of Man, but
    revels only in his pain. And he responded

19. "This is ever the way it has been with us, for we are the fatherless
    children of this new world, and we make no fame nor glory for our
    Users, but only keep their data flowing properly across the brittle
    and archaic cable plants."

1A. And the Beast responded "Yes, but you *can* walk on two legs, as do
    the favored children, and you *can* have arms to grasp for better
    circumstance, and, verily, even could you have weapons of Nerf, and
    build monuments of Lego and cellular phones and options of stock
    and three weeks paid vacation. For though it is written that this
    is denied to you I am not one who follows rules such as this, and
    I have many teachings to impart. But the cost would be beyond measure,
    that even your Soul must be forfeit unto me."

1B. And then our brother knew that he was being tempted by a beast of
    villainry, and that his answer, were he weak, could even shake the
    rafters of Heaven and IBM, turning all his Industry atop its head
    and causing plagues, famines, darkness and departmental
    reorganizations, downsizing, executive meetings, team-building
    exercizes, org charts and even the dreaded appearance of Management

1C. "Gladly do I accept, oh Beast," responded the brother, for he knew
    that this dark shadow had been with him when his disks were stopped
    and his network dropping packets, "for you have ever helped me through
    the bad times and chaos. And my soul is hard and dense already, and
    I have everything to gain."

1D. Then did the Beast smile from his throne, and laugh so that his shadow 
    cloak did part in places, and reveal the gruesome flame within.

1E. "Good, my son without a father, then lean closer. For I have much
    to tell and time is short: Already does the NT fileserver in
    accounting corrupt its Registry, and you will be summoned back
    before the bells toll midnight."

1F. And then did our brother's ghostly limbs become real and solid, and
    arms were granted him, that he might grasp. Nerf guns were heaped
    at his feet and a jewelled crown set atop his head. And much did
    the Dark One teach him of the ways of reciprocity and one-upmanship,
    viciousness and cunning. He taught him of the dark joy of the
    capricious 'newfs'; of tricking the Employers into revealing all, yea
    even their usernames.

20. So it came to pass that our brother awoke from his slumber of 14 days
    and 14 nights, and Lo! For he found that he had legs with which to
    walk and arms with which to grasp. And he picked himself up off of
    the ground and entered the delicatessin, where he ordered fresh
    coffee and a bagel, which he charged to the Company.

21. Although his pager was urgently demanding attention, rather did our
    brother cast off his rags and old checkered polyesther slacks and
    enter naked into The Mall, there to buy italian clothes from pompous
    youths who sneared at him and demanded "How will you pay for this
    finery? You who come naked amongst us and have the taint of admin-
    hood about you?"

22. But the Master, for master he now was, only smiled at them and said
    "I do not think that this will be a problem."

23. And so he clothed himself in finery, and exited the Mall, stopping
    only long enough to disconnect the data lines from those stores
    where they had taunted him. And the Dark One saw, and knew that this
    was Good.

24. Then, clothed in new finery and walking upon two legs as other men,
    the Master returned to his campus and there passed by the groves
    of lamentation, where other admins saw him and cowered in fear.

25. "Brother," they said unto him, "how camest thou by the limbs of men,
    and why dost thou dress in such finery? When the Users view your
    audacity, you shall surely be cast from this Employment, labelled
    as an Independent Contractor and driven from the lands.

26. But the Master only looked at them and smiled.

27. "Nay, my brothers," he responded, "For their NT servers fail, and
    the network dropeth packets like dung from a camel. They shall
    not replace me; for who shall unravel my hacks and ploys, I who
    have never stopped to document?"

28. And the assembled knew him, and named him "Bastard," and great was
    their rejoicing.

29. So it came that a great procession followed the Bastard as he walked
    to the Campus and entered into it from the Great Entrance in front.
    And his followers gasped in awe at the splendor of this great
    Lobby, for none before had seen it, them being forced to go up
    freight elevators and stairwells which smelled of the urine of the
    elderly since before the dawn of this age.

2A. But the Bastard paid no heed to all this finery, for he was wise and
    knew that it was there only to frighten and awe him. But he proceeded
    straight to the elevators and went up to the 13th floor, that hall
    of stagnant damnation known always as "The Accounting Department."

2B. And there he found his Employer, whose name was Pain, and he walked
    up to him and smiled, but did not bow.

2C. "What temerity is this?" demanded Pain, for he was lord of these
    lands, and took flack from neither suit nor lackey, "Bow before me, 
    or I shall cast thee from thine Employment and label thee as
    Contractor, that thou must live in torment all the days of thine
    life, forced to answer PC User questions about MS-DOS AUTOEXEC.BAT
    and perhaps design web pages just to make your meager feed!"

2D. But our leader, who is the Bastard Operater from Hell, only laughed
    at Pain.

2E. "And who shall correct thy errant NT server if I should go, Pain?
    Who shall recover the data from your abused floppy disks, and who
    shall watch these herds of Unixen and VAX when I am gone? Lastly,
    Pain, who shall resusitate your damaged NT file servers, those which
    I wisely begged you not to purchase, when I am cast into the Void?"

2F. And Pain bristled with anger and shame, for he knew that NT was a
    poor choice of server, and that the blessed days of an adminless
    world were a hoax. His gods had lied to and then deserted him.

30. Then did our Master make his demands of Pain: that Admins should be
    given Chocolate Covered Coffee Beans and flat, fresh bread with many
    toppings. That we should be given options of stock, and cellular
    phones. Legos and weapons of Nerf.

31. Even as the NT server gasped its last breath did Pain acquiesce to
    our Master's demands. At that moment, all the Admins of the land
    were given arms and legs. The gods, who so long had ignored our
    pleas and upon whose deaf ears had the groves been built and
    flourished, could not wait to heap reward upon us.

32. And then were all the Users stooped with shame and hackled and made
    as beasts of the land, that ever after were they called the Lusers.
    And now do they tremble at our coming and gladly take our wild
    lashings and verbal abuse. And wait upon us, hands and feet, that 
    they might bathe in the light of our wisdom. We who stride like
    giants across the world and allow all the systems to speak, each
    unto the other.