When Tech Writers get Loopy

  • Posted on: 18 April 2013
  • By: Jay Oyster

Zygiella web Orb-web by permission of: Laura Bassett, via WikipediaOnce upon a time, I was a technical writer. One particularly long, boring day, a software product manager asked me to write a procedure on how to uninstall a software utility on a particular kind of hardware. It was an academic exercise, since no one in their right mind would have installed it on such a system, and yet the PM still wanted it. My first attempt was an email one-off done in about four minutes.  (I did end up writing an actual uninstall procedure, that I'm fairly certain was never used in the history of the universe. But . . .such is the life of a software tech writer.

11/8/2000 - Jay Oyster: Uninstalling Phasor Analyst v2.6 on a UNIX NetMentor Server

Place the server in the middle of a circular table of Mahogany. Place four jasmine-scented, bees-wax candles in the four ordinal positions around the server. Place the spider web of a virgin Black Widow across the center of the keyboard. Light the candles in the following order:  North for the night of infinite blackness, South for the sadness of the lost child in the wilderness, East for the early morning mist on the heather, and West for the wild wallabies of western Australia.

After the candles have been lighted, wave a wand of black birch thrice over the monitor and recite "Begone, all ye spirits of Phasorition and Phasordom. Flee ye this plane of existence. Get ye to thy final resting place, in the trashcan of software-ial oblivion!"

Extinguish a candle and kneel. Extinguish another and break the cobweb between the G and H keys. Extinguish a third and smack yourself in the forehead twice, once for your rebooting sins, and once in sympathy to trojan horse virus warriors all over the world. Extinguish the last candle and recite the holy prayer of software resurrection, as writ in the Holy Canticle of Paul Allen the Most Revered and Owner of the Holy Portland Trailblazers.