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History looked at me this week

Transported on September 4, 2022.

History looked at me this week and said, “This man is a fool.”

I hadn’t tried to invade France by marching across Belgium, not this time. (I learned my lesson the last time.) But my blunder was nearly as bad.

Nor had I had forgotten about Hitler again. Nor had I bet on the Third Reich lasting a thousand years, like some people had, nor the Soviet Union lasting eternally, like other fools and doofuses had.

Nor had I gotten lost in the labyrinthine corridors of Terok Nor, nor emerged naked from a Jefferies tube onto the Promenade, like I had in 2369.

So, what had I done? What gorram blunder had I committed this time—being the big doofus–fool that I am? I had waited until 11:45 p.m. on Sunday (horrible, hateful Sunday!) to start yerking out my blog entry. And now I was in the pickiest of stickles: Fifteen minutes is not sufficient to sit down, crack open the board o’ keys, and get my nose hairs in line, before I begin my bloggity-yerking.

In a century my descendants would establish a dynasty in the Bagel Nebula that would rule for a thousand years. But even that didn’t matter. After this week, history would look at me like I was a fool. Forever.

So what was I to do? I pressed the button and went vroom! a lot. My new Snoodabaker couldn’t go vroom! on her own, so I had to do it in her stead. Vroom, vroom!

Tuesday rolled around and got stuck in my calendar for hours… twenty-four of them, to be precise. Monday had departed right on schedule; before I could lock the gate, Tuesday arrived. The one silver lining: It was indeed Tuesday this time and not Two’s Day, which always hangs around for two days instead of one.

My Snoodabaker was already in the shop. On Monday, I learned the hard way that trying to upgrade a Macintosh Performa to Windows 10 works out no better than that trounce across Belgium had. Not only was my Snoodabaker’s onboard infotainment system now toast, but her engine was now a bagel and her transmission was a pile of sausage and bacon.

The Mecklenburgian Mechanic Gnomes assured me they could fix my Snoodabaker. (They weren’t just mechanic gnomes—these were highly precise German mechanic gnomes.) All it would take was a few hours, then a few days, then a complete engine overhaul, which would take a few weeks. If that didn’t do it, they would try repainting her (I suggested paisley), which might take a few months. As a last resort, if none of that succeeded, in early 2023, they would try simply turning the key and stepping on the gas.

I was assured that, one way or another, by mid-2024 I would have a small cube of crushed metal delivered right to my doorstep. In the meantime I should go to the nearest car dealership and buy a new car.

Wednesday parked itself on my calendar like a stalwart gargoyle and refused to leave for a whole day.

My Snoodabaker was still in the shop. I still wasn’t allowed to ride the Blunder Bus. And so I transported myself using the old-fashioned Higlenian shift method, to Hegelian Avenue, to ask random and aimless questions of the first city bureaucrat I came across. (It was my new pastime.)

The man said his name was Celiac J. Sprue. I asked him if he had any Sheliak shellac, but he said no. With my Snoodabaker in the shop, I asked him if I should register my pogo stick as a motor vehicle. He said no. I asked him if the city licenses dogs, to which he said yes, and to which I replied I don’t have a dog, but I do have a kerfrumpt, which he said the city doesn’t license, to which I said I also have pet cockroaches, to which he replied there’s no such thing as “pet” cockroaches. He then advised me to call a fumigator.

For totally unrelated reasons, he reminded me of Cyrus Vance, Cyrus the Great, and even Cyrus Redblock. A king of kings and a gangster twice over. I thanked him for wasting his time and left. He thanked me for leaving.

Thursday thudded into place amidst the week, almost like clockwork. (Except all my clocks were in the shop, too. None of them could run Windows 10 either.)

This day brought with it more failures, boondoggles, goongoggles, and mighty embarrassments. I had of course slept through the Academy lecture on the conservation of tractor beam power. This explained why my attempts to use a farm tractor as a makeshift automobile failed spectacularly. Bouillabaisse Boulevard was now covered in manure, dismembered cows, and exploded bales of hay.

After Bastu, came Cimi, Xora, Makto, and—enough. Absurdities! I must have been asleep. Cimi! Simmy, simmy, simmy!

“Simmy! Simmy, simmy!”

Was it a simian who first spoke those words (“Simmy!”) all those years ago… and years from now? Was the simian’s name Simeon? Did he have any simoleons? Like Napoléon or Timoleon? One wonders. One always wonders.

One wonders about many things… especially when “one” is a big doofus–fool like I am. I wonder… how big the Universe is… and exactly how many stars are orbited by planets with gnomes on them. I wonder… how Hula Hoops became such a fad on this planet… and if somewhere out there, Cthulha Hoops are just as popular. And I wonder often… about Deanna Troi’s bare and well-oiled feet.

A Gunji jackdaw wandered nonchalantly down the Promenade. It was Friday—for 86,400 seconds, give or take a µs or three. I briefly contemplated riding the jackdaw like one of my old Kimdangian emus, but then remembered that their beaks are very sharp and my eyes are very precious to me, so I decided against it. Still my Snoodabaker remained in the shop. Those damned German gnomes weren’t even returning my calls now.

“About time,” I smarmed with satisfaction as I read the article. The Linux kernel finally removed support for strlcpy(). It took them twenty years but it was done. Now, if only they would remove the ability for Corinthian Compiling Gnomes to keep submitting all those exploit-ridden pull requests. Those little bastards loved to mess with my mind using their NUL-terminated string tricks!

Fortunately my Snoodabaker was stuck running an ancient version of MacOS, so the gnomes couldn’t overrun its buffers by stealing all its NULs. “Just try to break those Pascal strings!\0” I taunted them. “Go ahead and try!\0”

Deanna’s bare feet popped into my head again. I pushed the thought away. Images of eldritch elder gods twirling Cthulha Hoops about their tentacle-ridden waists popped into my head next. I pushed those images away, too. Then my brain froze, rebooted, and halted suddenly. Sad Macintosh. Sad brain. “Time to die.\0”

And then there was Saturday, sometimes misspelled as “Saturnday” or even “Slatternday” around these parts. At least we don’t misspell “misspell” here, like some people do!

“Frunknupten-klackheimer-geflugt!” I crowed out my third-floor bathroom window at the crack of dawn, with my own asscrack out, right as some crackhead passed by on the street below. “Furthermore, crunkenheimer-geflugt!”

Celiac J. Sprue had looked at me like I was a fool. History looked at me like I was a fool. And now this crackhead. And soon the whole neighborhood would look at me like I was a big, big doofus–fool.

Returning downstairs, I peered out another of my many, many windows as I contemplatively ate a container of sour cream. I had plenty of other food in the house (like horse tripe!) but sour cream really hit the spot right now. I was still distracted by visages of Counselor Troi’s feet. In fact, everything else had been pushed out of the ol’ brainpan. That’s what happens when one’s mind has been replaced by a 1990s-era Macintosh with 16 MB of RAM. There’s not room for much else.

“But now none of my strings are NUL-terminated!” I cried. “What’ll I do?!” Again I blamed the Corinthian Compiling Gnomes. I pondered switching to KDE, but that wouldn’t run on an old LC 520 either. A dilemma—a conundrum—perhaps even a trilemma! What to do? What to do? I didn’t know. So I let my tiny, 25 MHz brain go into a slow loop contemplating those shiny, lubricious feet again.

At last, alas, Sunday smugly planted itself at the tail end of my week. That river was still choked with dead fish, but I could rest easy. The theft of my mercury-laden bacon fat wasn’t suspected anymore. When Germany and Poland start World War III over that odorous river and its million million dead fish, I would be blameless. And now I wanted some fish.

But again, I had places to be, cars to drive, and a bird to baste. I withdrew from my fishy reverie. Those pinguid penguins (and disparate parrots!) will sure make a fine feast tonight!