FileTitle: Prose1952.html
Category: Humor
Type: Prose
Description: Heaven and Computers
A woman approached the Pearly Gates, and Saint Peter asked for her
social security number. The woman told him, and Saint Peter typed on his

pearly-gates:~/peter grep 212-53-6432 /earth/human/status

The computer responded:

212-53-6432 Cindy Smith!earth naughty


Saint Peter then told her she was eternally damned, and that a minivan
to hell would be arriving shortly.

Cindy began to protest, "but what did I do wrong? I loved my fellow
neighbor as I loved myself, I was a kind, warm, gentle person! Surely
there must be a mistake!"

So, Saint Peter looked up on the files, and saw, lo and behold, that she
truly was a kind, warm, gentle person ... until he saw the entry for Jan
7, 1992-Earth, which read:

Posted irrelevant article to newsgroup.

After probing a little more, Saint Peter explained to the woman, "It
seems that on January 7, 1992, you posted an article to

"This article gave no praise of Emacs, no snide remarks toward
Microsoft, and not even a comment on the proper definition of 'hacker'!
In fact, the article was not even relating to computers at all, and
discussed, of all things, human religion! There wasn't even a
reference to Bob or Discordianism, Zen, or the Tao of programming.

"Oh dear, this is terrible. You see, heaven is a perfect  place, and we
only have room for the most perfect people. Ever since we ran the T-3
line up from New Jersey, we've been particularly harsh on breakers of

Didn't you read RFC-23654? The one proposing commandments 11 through

He opened up an XTerm window and searched for some files. After a few
moments, the laser printer spat out a crisp sheet of paper. It read:

11: Thou shalt not flame spelling or grammar.
12: Thou shalt not have a .sig file longer than 3 lines.
13: Thou shalt not send "All fags must die" messages
       to 19 random groups.
14: Thou shalt not repost a frequently asked question.
15: Thou shalt not post to a group without first reading
       a week's worth of posts, thereby avoiding irrelevant articles.

When she was done reading, she began to stammer, but Saint Peter stopped
her, saying "I'm sorry. There's nothing I can do. To register a
complaint, you'll have to send mail to
We have a group of cherubim who manage such requests.
But don't send it to, or your request
will be distributed to the whole mailing list.
They *hate* that! In fact, there's some discussion about making that the
16th commandment..."

At that point, a Dodge minivan drove up and came to a stop. Satan, in
the form of a Microsoft salesman, stepped out. "Welcome!" he said.
"We've been waiting for you..." Cindy, almost in a trance, stepped into
the minivan and was whisked away to the netherworld, a world of
COBOL, System36s, punch cards, incompatible network standards, and
irresponsible news posters. Satan turned to Cindy, and smiled. "You'll
like it here", he said, "We have netnews, but we've greatly simplified
it. We have only one group,it's!"