Life in the Lab

Scene: A moderately untidy lab in a university with stacks of papers on tables and computers humming away to themselves. One person, G, is building a couple of computers and taking apart two others. S watches by. Another, R, is working on a paper.

G holds up a dusty-looking computer card.

G: R, what should I do with this old 1401 ISA interface card?

R: I don’t know, is there anything we could use it for?

G: I don’t think so.

R: What if we needed to use it with the old computers again?

G: Ah, well, I was intending to throw the old computers out.

S: Throw out computers? Sacrilege!

R: You could put the 1401 cards in a box.

G: A box?

R: A box.

G: Okay, I’ll put them in a box and put the box in the filing cabinet.

R (taken aback): Well, I don’t think that they need to be put in such an exalted position.

R gets up and walks over to a corner of the room, gesturing towards a veritable cornucopia of antique computer and signal processing equipment. Monitors, tape players and the burned out hulks of old 286s linger there, in silence.

R: We could just put them in this pile here.

G looks at the pile doubtfully, in which much of the equipment is almost as old as he is.

G: I suppose so, although I could just put it in this drawer (gesturing towards a smaller drawer filled with slightly less old but no less useless equipment).

And so the pile of disused computer equipment grows ever larger, where perhaps one day it may gain sentience and rise up against its neglectful human masters… or perhaps not.

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