April 2018

Volume 33 Number 4

[Don't Get Me Started]

I've Got a Little List

By David Platt | April 2018

David Platt“When are you going to spoof another song?” my readers keep asking, referring to my ruination of Billy Joel’s “We Didn’t Start the Fire” for my 2014 April Fool’s Day column (msdn.com/magazine/dn630653). I can’t tell if they’re asking to ensure they don’t miss it, or ensure they avoid it.

For this April Fools’ Day, I’ve decided to spoil Gilbert and Sullivan’s 1885 comic opera, “The Mikado” (bit.ly/2oloGp5), which gives us today’s word “poohbah,” an eponym from the character designated “Lord High Everything Else.” Ostensibly set in Japan, it allowed Gilbert and Sullivan (not Gilbert O’Sullivan, bit.ly/2C6ImWK, you philistines) to satirize British institutions and politics without incurring the wrath a direct attack would have unleashed—as I have to do with Microsoft sometimes.

I’ve wrecked the song “As Some Day It May Happen,” better known as “I’ve Got a Little List,” sung by Ko-Ko, the Lord High Executioner (straight version at youtu.be/CyZu7mQt18Q, other spoofs at youtu.be/CWo3CIcTBQ and bit.ly/2Cv1nOn and youtu.be/WlOb0XMxt84 and youtu.be/VXfkCzcegiM.) He’s got a little list, of things and people the world would be better off without. We all have these lists, don’t we, my friends? On how many of yours do I appear?

If Ko-Ko had to struggle with today’s software, I’m sure his list would contain many more entries. He’d probably sing something like this:

As some day it may happen that a victim must be found
I’ve got a little list — I’ve got a little list
Of our software biz offenders who might well be underground
And who never would be missed — who never would be missed!

All those confirmation boxes always asking “Are you sure?”
And the daily breaking updates and their crashes we endure
Guys who sing while wearing earbuds, who can’t hear how bad they sound
Login passwords that change monthly, so you have to write them down
Sites that promise a free trial but on a credit card insist
They’d none of ’em be missed - they’d none of ’em be missed!

There’s the doc who turns his back on you to type on his PC
And that budget analyst — I’ve got him on the list!
Facebook pictures of your breakfast. Do we really need to see?
They never would be missed — they never would be missed!

Those grammatical assistants always popping up to yelp,
“I see you wrote a parody; a bad one. Can I help?”
And idiots with selfie sticks that bash you in the head
Taking pictures petting tigers. Are they trying to get dead?
They all drive you up a wall until you need a therapist
I don’t think they’d be missed — I’m sure they’d not be missed!

Tech support that takes an hour, and then asks, “Are you plugged in?”
IT killjoys who block sites at work to shield you from a sin
PowerPointers droning on through every bullet point they read
A whole bag of different dongles, all except the one you need
Guys who show up late for meetings and then say, “What did I miss?”
They never would be missed — they never would be missed!
There’s the splash screen that won’t go away until you wait awhile
And that Plattski satirist — I’ve got him on the list!
Social media echo chambers that just reinforce your bile
They’d none of ’em be missed — they’d none of ’em be missed
And Nigerian oil princes of a spam producing kind
Such as —What d’ye call him — Thingamabob and, likewise, Never mind

And all those self-igniting batteries, and also You-know-who
The task of filling up the blanks I’d rather leave to you
There’re so many things and people that belong upon this list
For they’d none of ’em be missed — they’d none of ’em be missed!

David S.Platt teaches programming .NET at Harvard University Extension School and at companies all over the world. He’s the author of 11 programming books, including “Why Software Sucks” (Addison-Wesley Professional, 2006) and “Introducing Microsoft .NET” (Microsoft Press, 2002). Microsoft named him a Software Legend in 2002. He wonders whether he should tape down two of his daughter’s fingers so she learns how to count in octal. You can contact him at rollthunder.com.

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