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Dr. Seuss Parody - "The Down-Going VAX"

Updated on October 27, 2019

Dr. Seuss as Systems Administrator

Here is a very old jingle about hacking a common mini-computer, known as the VAX, used at many universities in the 1980s. It is written in the style of Dr. Seuss, a genious at poetic meter.

Some Definitions:

VAX: A common server architecture used in the 1970s-1980s, roughly. Manufactured by Digital Equiment Corp. (DEC).

guru: A highly skilled system administrator.

Dr. Seuss: Pen name of the author of a series of popular children's books.

The Down-Going VAX

One day, making tracks
As the hackers did hack,
Came a Down-Going VAX
And those Upcoming Hacks.

And it happened that both of them came to a space
Where they bumped. There they stopped.
Foot to foot. Face to face.

"Look here, now!" the Upcoming Hack said. "I say!
You are blocking my path. You are right in my way.
I'm an Upcoming Hack and I always succeed.
In getting you vaxes to do what I please!"

"Who's in whose way?" snapped the Down-Going VAX.
"I always go down, leaving down-going tracks.
So you're in MY way! And I ask you to leave
And let me go down as I damn well do please."

Then the Upcoming Hack puffed his chest up with pride.
"I never," he said, "take a step to one side.
And I'll prove to you that I won't change my ways
If I have to stay logged in for fifty-nine days!"

"And I'll prove to YOU," yelled the Down-Going VAX
"That I can stay down 'til my guru comes back.
For fifty-nine years! For I live by a rule
That I learned as a chip back in Down-Going School.
Never boot! That's my rule. Never boot in the least!
Not a bit to the west! Not a bit to the east!
I'll stay here, not booting! I can and I will
If it makes you and me and the whole world stand still!"

Of course the world didn't stand still. The world grew.
In a couple of years, the new Cyber came through
And they put it right over that old stubborn VAX
Right over the hackers, right over their tracks.

                            Dr. Seuss (creative consultant)

Parody on an old Platform: VAX

I realize I may lose some readers here because there have not been VAX servers around for many years. For you young'uns, a VAX was an old machine manufactured by Digital Equipment, who ceases to exist. The operating system was Ultrix, a UNIX varient.

Anyway in these old days (ack! let me get my cane!) servers were far more unstable than they are today. Furthermore, the particular computer referenced existed at my university and anyone who has ever supported a server at a university knows there tend to be plenty of hackers going after the equipment! -- Laura in Denver

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