Fondly Recalling Camille

The old man, tired and worn,
Sips foaming Latte at a dimly lit and garish Starbucks
Hemmed in by scores of bright young tech-savants
With humming laptops wirelessly connected to the Web
And remembers how it all began.

Who ever said Romance and Mathematical Precision
Must needs be poles apart?
They never saw our passion
Nor ever saw our dedication to the cause
And never knew Camille.

For us that passion
Was centered in our Genes,
In this case, White and Amdahl!
And leave us not forget our early hero,
Kenny Wayne Simonds,
Who saved our bacon with a fill-in pitch at Share?
And John Bruce Hanley,
Patiently guiding clueless software jockeys
Like a zealous band of passionate adherents
Lost in kilobytes of ones and zeroes
Drowning in the soup of MVT.

And yet we were not nameless
But a host of individuals
Devoted to a common cause.
Struggling to fulfill the dream.
Held together by a lofty goal:
To write our names on the raveling
Scroll of time.

And names they were!
Larry Ellison
Who left our pilgrimage historical
And founded Oracle.
Fast Eddie Cardinal
Who came to work on Formal Friday
Dressed to the Nines in Soup and Fish
And the lovely Camille.
She wore that purple filmy blouse
Come Tuesdays
Rain or Shine.
You could set the calendar by her passage in the hall.
That haunting, sensuous memory alone
Has carried him through two divorces
And a clutch of meaningless relationships
Although, in truth, he never spoke her name.

And he has seen transition.
Mainframes rock,
The hulking sweaty meat
Of cybernetic vigor
Lays waste to the niggling mediocrity
Thrust upon us by the Gates of Bill.
Alas, he never made that cut.

He did enjoy a brief enjoyable success.
His lack of brilliance
More than overcome by diligence.
Above all he had context.
He was not context
And yet he was immersed in context;
The context of his fellow strugglers
Mired in the fight against Big Blue.
Cybernetic soldiers
Templates drawn
Pocket protectors askew.

And all the old reminders of his past:
The Logic Simulator leans against the wall.
Tangled wires dangle
Curly wisps of smoke obscure the pipe
Wherein the aberrant instructions lurk:
Stream rapidly
Although not with quite so much precision
As the engineers had hoped to gain.

Comes closing time.
The laptops fold and slip into their leather tombs.
The lights of Starbucks dim
And he is ushered out.
Left to muse upon this cold and context-less confusion
Wrought by icon-littered toys
Who never tasted COBOL
Whose FORTRAN is a godless mix of C++ and .net protocol,
Formless and unapproachable;
And whose lower case delusion
Never knew Camille
Or what a world it was.