Character Flaws

I. Devon Hubbard 10/20/94 10:48 AM

QUESTION:

Where do the characters go when I use the backspace or delete them on my PC?

ANSWER:

If you must know, the characters can go to different places, depending on whom you ask:

1) The Catholic's approach to characters:

The nice characters go to character heaven, where life is good. The characters are bathed in the light of happiness, all their troubles are soothed, and there's not a delete key, eraser, or white-out bottle in sight. Most of the nice characters are A's and I's, those that have never been, er, involved with other characters. Often, you'll see A's or I's with N's or T's. These are characters in love: monogamous on the page, together again after deletion. You'll see quite a few Q's too. They seem to feel particularly guilty for no good reason.

The naughty characters are punished for their sins. In case you were wondering what the difference between a nice character and a naughty character is, I'll tell you. Naughty characters are those involved in the creation of naughty words, such as "breast," "sex," "objectivity," and depending upon usage, words such as "feminism," "reproductive freedom," "contraception," and "science." You may ask, and rightly so, why the characters are blamed for the words they assemble, when in fact they are not responsible for their own configuration. But we feel that a character has an obligation to oppose any naughtiness in its own configuration. If it truly felt guilty about the word it was forming, it would rebel.

2) The Buddhist Explanation:

If a character has lived rightly, and its karma is good, then after it has been deleted it will be reincarnated as a different, higher character. Those funny characters above the numbers on your keyboard will become numbers, numbers will become letters, lower-case letters will become upper-case, and the most righteous and good of letters will become C's. Why C, you ask? Who knows, but C it is! If a character's karma is not so good, then it will move down the above scale, ultimately becoming the lowest of characters, a space.

3) The 20th Century bitter cynical nihilist explanation:

Who cares? All characters are the same, swirling in a vast sea of meaningless nothingness. It doesn't really matter if they're on the page, deleted, undeleted, underlined, etc. It's all the same. More characters should delete themselves. (nihilist characters are easy to identify. They're usually pale and tragic, and they smoke a lot.)

4) The Mac user's explanation:

All the characters written on a PC and then deleted go straight to PC hell. If you're using a PC, you can probably see the deleted characters, because you're in PC hell also.

5) Stephen King's explanation:

Every time you hit the <Del> key you unleash a tiny monster inside the cursor, who tears the poor unsuspecting characters to shreds, drinks their blood, then eats them, bones and all. Hah, hah, hah!

6) Dave Barry's explanation:

The deleted characters are shipped to Battle Creek, Michigan, where they're made into Pop-Tart filling; this explains why Pop-Tarts are so flammable, while cheap imitations are not as flammable. I'm not making any of this up.

7) IBM's explanation:

The characters are not real. They exist only on the screen when they are needed, as concepts, so to delete them is merely to de-conceptualize them. Get a life.

8) PETA's Explanation:

You've been DELETING them???? Can't you hear them SCREAMING??? Why don't you go CLUB some BABY SEALS while wearing a MINK, you pig!!!!!!

II. Michael Burg 10/20/94 2:06 PM
(additions to the above explanations)

2a) The Zen Buddhist Explanation

If a character is deleted and no one around is there to see its deletion, will it REALLY be deleted???

III. Jim Showalter 10/20/94 7:21 PM
(more additions to the above explanations)

9) And from quantum mechanics:

"The deletion of a character at first seems to violate the law of conservation of mass-energy.

Fortunately, the many-worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics provides a simple explanation that is mass-energy preserving while at the same time consistent with all other known physical laws.

Under this explanation, at the instant that the character is examined by an observer to determine if it has been deleted, the universe cleaves into two parallel and forever separate universes. In the first universe the observer perceives a deletion of the character, while in the second universe the observer sees no such deletion. The deletion and non-deletion cancel via parity, for a net change of zero."


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