Digital Tradition Mirror

The Bug Came Back

The Bug Came Back
(Joel Polowin)

The program wasn't complex, and it wasn't very long,
Though it seemed a bit erratic, its results were seldom wrong.
But that little error nagged us, so we stayed up late one night
Found a missing comma, and we thought that fixed it right

cho:  But the bug came back, the very next day
      The bug came back, we thought it was a goner
      But the bug came back, it just wouldn't stay away.

We put away our documents, rewrote the code from scratch
To find out where the new and older versions didn't match.
A subtle shift of logic showed where we had gone astray;
We felt a bit embarrassed, but at least it ran okay

We wrote in other languages, from FORTH to APL
And ev'ry one ran ev'ry time  just sometimes not too well.
Translation to assembler didn't give us any clue;
The COBOL version crashed on ev'ry system it went through

We gave it to the hacker squad, the folks who code for fun
And asked them if they couldn't get the stupid thing to run.
But less than one week later, they no longer wished to play
Three paranoids... one suicide... and six who ran away...

We got a summer student in to check the code by hand,
With paper, pen and calculator, run through each command,
But suddenly the lights went out  the air went thin and queer
A sudden FLASH! of lightning  and the student... disappeared..?

(Last verse and corresponding alternate chorus are optional)

We set up an experiment that Schrodinger inspired:
A box; a cat; some poison; a computer system wired
Such that IF the program failed, the little moggy would be gassed.
A quasar was  almost  the only remnant of the blast...

cho: But the cat came back the very next day
     The bug came back, we thought they were a goner
     But they both came back, they just wouldn't stay away

Copyright (C) 1991 by Joel Polowin

Thanks to Mudcat for the Digital Tradition!

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