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Sunday, February 15, 2009

The COBOL programmer and Y2K

Personal circumstances will take me away from this blog for a while. A leave of sorts for good reasons, which reminded me of an old joke. It is always nice to depart with a joke, wouldn't you agree?
"The year is 1998 and a COBOL programmer gets sick with all of the bug 2000 work he has to do. 
Worse than the boring work, he knows that if everything works fine, nobody will thank him, but if there will be a slight problem - it is his fault !
So he thinks about it, and decides to use a cryogenic service, to freeze himself for several years, and plans to wake up 10 years later, well into the new millennium.  
He enters the cryo-machine, and feels like no time had passed at all when the machine is re-opened. Outside, a room full of people are celebrating and cheering around him, as he comes out of the machine. 
"Whats up ?" he asks the person nearest the machine. "Is 2000 passed already ?" 
"Yep!" he is answered, "this is 9999". 
"How did so much time pass ?" he asks. 
"There was a dating bug in your freezing machine, and so you remained frozen for all this time". 
"Why all the celebrations ?" he asks. 
"Well, you see, the year 10000 is nearing, and it seems all sorts of software systems aren't compatible." 
"And ?" he asks, though he knows the answer. 
"And you are the only person on earth who knows COBOL".

I received this joke in my INBOX many years ago, while I was working on Bug 2000.  I could not trace its origin, despite efforts, and therefore cannot credit the person who wrote it. You can find  a similar version on the following computing joke collections -