Monday, March 5, 2007

Wheel of Fortune

fortune is a simple program. When you install it it stores many snippets of text (usually funny or wise quotations) in files on your computer. When you run it it displays one of them for you to read. So many Unix geeks configure their shells to run fortune at startup, so that every time they pop open a command terminal they get a dose of humor or wisdom (some take care when doing this not to cause extraneous output in the case that the shell is invoked by rcp or similar programs such as scp, because they think that extraneous output breaks rcp; this is not really true: rcp is already broken because it relies on such particular formatting from the shell, and I find the insistence that I bend my .bashrc backwards for such a poorly thought-out program onerous).

Anyhow, today fortune showed me a quotation from Oscar Wilde: "We are all in the gutter but some of us are looking at the stars." It made me laugh. You see, if you told me, "We should all look for the good in life," I'd probably tell you to stuff it. But if you told me, "Life sucks, but we should all look for the good in life," I'd think you just said something profound and wise. Yep, I'm a fool for sure.

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