On this particular occasion two other friends happened to be in the room, and one of them happened to be buying the beer.
They had been listening patiently to our jargon exchange, when the mathematician interrupted us, perhaps in knowledge of the power he held over us.
"What is Unicode, anyway?"
"Do you know what ASCII is?"
|Programmer:||[again without the slightest hesitation]
"Well, Unicode is like ASCII, but bigger."
|Three of us:||[smiling and grinning]
... chuckles ...
|Linguist:||[agonized facial expression, thinking of
the last time Word froze his iMac]
"I don't know what ASCII is."
|Programmer:||[who never hesitates]
"Do you know what a bit is?"
|Linguist:||[knowing this is the wrong answer]
"Um, something tiny."
"A bit is a one or a zero."
"Yes. And ASCII is quite a bit like
a bit, but a little bit bigger."
|Linguist:||[beatific facial expression, thinking of
conceptual metaphor, and smiling]
"So, Unicode is like a bit, but biggest ..."
|Epilogue:||Miraculously, and not to imply a causal connection here, but from that day forth, the linguist not only became a more confident word processor, but his documents began to print flawlessly. Sadly however, Word continues to crash his iMac to this day.|
|Disclaimers:||While based in part on real-world events, the roles of the characters in this exchange have been changed to protect the innocent. Any resemblance to actual persons in actual roles can only be a by-product of your associative powers, as the author's imperfect memory, inventive power, and misinterpetation have skewed things beyond all recognition.|
|Acknowledgements:||This web page was made possible in part by the grace of the MIR space-station, which mercifully did not fall on my house in Oakland last night.|
|Bit Safe:||Zero bits were harmed in the making of this web page.|