The Fall of Sumer

by August 21, 2009 0 comments

“For want of a placeholder
This civilization shall fall”
* SSOF, 21st Century

We can’t feed another digit
To the maw of the machine
It just won’t take it
So what, if the customer
Wants only one extra feature
Without that placeholder
The customer can take what we have
Because we can’t force it
Though we tried and tried
There was weeping and gnashing of teeth

No placeholder
And the system won’t recognize the request
The Standard Of Work can access no document
Because the system had no Process Of Record
By which to execute an idea
A desire for something more
There is no placeholder for more

And for want of that
The forecast is missed
The operating plan falls short
The people are scattered
And so on and so on

All we have of the Sumerians
Are some crumbled foundations
Sunk in centuries of sand
And a pile of clay tablets
With records and records
Of business transactions
Cuneiform scratchings
For the counting of cattle
And bushels of wheat
And clusters of figs
So many markings
To count to the highest number
Impeded by a scarcity of clay

They didn’t get “zero”
They couldn’t squeeze a large number
Into a smaller space
They just spread out
‘Til the desert couldn’t sustain them
Leaving us their legacy –
Lack of vision
Only eyes for the horizon
In this desert now

For want of a placeholder

Copyright 2008 Michael Clay

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