Break the Chain Take a Haiku

Created 4/9/2001 (4/9/2001) A joke is a joke. That is, of course unless it would seem much funnier if it were real. That's what you have with these examples of poetic license.

SAMPLE CHAIN LETTER TEXT

In Japan, Sony Vaio machines have replaced the impersonal and unhelpful Micro$oft error messages with their own Japanese haiku.

First snow, then silence. With searching comes loss
This thousand dollar screen dies And the presence of absence:
So beautifully. "My Novel" not found.

The Tao that is seen Stay the patient course
Is not the true Tao, until Of little worth is your ire
You bring fresh toner. The network is down

A bug reduces Three things are certain:
Your expensive computer Death, taxes, and lost data.
To a simple stone. Guess which has occurred.

You step in the stream, Out of memory.
But the water has moved on. We wish to hold the whole sky.
The page is not here. But we never will.

Having been erased, Serious error.
The document you're seeking All shortcuts have disappeared
Must now be retyped. Screen. Mind. Both are blank.

Windows NT crashed A file that big?
I am the Blue Screen of Death. It might be very useful.
No one hears your screams. But now it is gone.

The Web site you seek Chaos reigns within.
Can not be located but Reflect, repent, and reboot.
Countless more exist. Order shall return.

ABORTED effort: Yesterday it worked.
Close all that you have worked on. Today it is not working.
You ask way too much. Windows is like that.

END CHAIN LETTER TEXT

First of all, the verses above aren't even proper Haiku. Haiku is a three-line poem that consists of 5 syllables in the first line, 7 in the second, and 5 in the third. These don't even make sense until closer examination reveals that they are each actually two haikus that were originally displayed side-by-side (probably on a web site) and have been mutated through the forwarding process, probably by someone who didn't know what Haiku really is. If you work really hard at it, you can probably break them back down into their 5-7-5 formats. If you do, they'll make a little more sense, and some of them are pretty clever.

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But clever jokes is all they are. Sony isn't putting them on their PCs in Japan or elsewhere. These verses have actually been around for several years and, in that time, they've been attributed to bored tech guys, overly creative japanese programmers, disenfranchised hackers and others.

As is the case with any netlore, their true origin isn't nearly as interesting. In January of 1998, the Salon web site issued a challenge in which "Readers (were) invited to submit up to three error messages written as haiku poems." They received an onslaught of responses which have been e-mailed, posted and re-posted hundreds of times since. You can read the original Salon challenge and the winners and see how closely they match the ones above.

Many web sites that list these Haiku error messages add several originals of their own. Some sites even include credits and a link to the Salon site for starting the whole thing. Now, let me try my hand at it:

It is but a joke
Fairly funny haiku wit
You can Break this Chain!

What Do You Think?

Category: No Joke Too Obvious
References: None

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