Ellen Bailey Poems

Abort, Retry, Ignore

by Lucy Blades

Once upon a midnight dreary,
Fingers cramped and vision bleary,
    System manuals piled high
    and wasted paper on the floor,
Longing for the warmth of bedsheets,
Still I sat here doing spreadsheets:
Having reached the bottom line,
I took a floppy from the drawer.

Typing with a steady hand,
I then invoked the "save" command
    But got instead a reprimand:
    It read, "Abort, Retry, Ignore?"
Was this some occult illusion?
Some maniacal type intrusion?
These were choices Solomon himself,
Had never faced before.

Carefully I weighed my options...
These three seemed to be the top ones.
    Clearly I must now adopt one;
    choose: Abort, Retry, Ignore?
With my fingers pale and trembling
Slowly toward the keyboard bending,
Longing for a happy ending,
Hoping all would be restored

Praying for some guarantee,
Finally I pressed a key.
But what on the screen did I see?
    Again "Abort, Retry, Ignore?"
    I tried to catch the chips off guard -
I pressed again, but twice as hard,
But luck was just not on the cards,
I saw what I had seen before.

Now I typed in desperation
Trying random combinations.
    Still there came the incantation
    "Abort, Retry, Ignore."
There I sat, distraught, exhausted,
By my own machine accosted
Getting up, I turned away
And paced across the office floor.

And then I saw an awful sight
A bold and blinding flash of light
A lightening bolt that cut the night,
    And shook me to my very core.
    The PC screen collapsed and died.
"OH NO! MY DATABASE!" I cried.
I heard a distant voice reply,
"You'll see your spreadsheets nevermore!"

To this day I do not know
The place to which our data goes.
    Perhaps it goes to heaven,
    Where the angels have it stored.
But as for Productivity, well,
I fear this has gone straight to Hell.
And that's the tale I have to tell -
Your choice: Abort, Retry, Ignore.

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