Jesus and Satan got into an argument over which of them was the better computer programmer. Finally God got tired of the bickering and told them that he would judge a contest between them. They each had four hours to write the best program they could, and then God would decide the winner.
Well, they both got right down to business, and wrote lines and lines and lines of code. But just before the four hours were up there was a flash of lightning and a tremendous clap of thunder. The lights flickered, the power faltered, and both computer screens went dead.
When power was restored, God declared that time was up and asked to see the results of their work. Jesus flipped on his computer and displayed the most elegant program you could imagine, with beautiful architecture and wonderful syllogisms, triumphs of multimedia sound and pictures -- all kinds of bells and whistles.
God asked Satan what he had created, but Satan said, "I've got nothing, absolutely nothing. My program was twice as good as that, but I lost it all when the power went out. Jesus must have cheated. How could he still have such a great program?"
Jack was a COBOL programmer in the mid to late 1990s. After years of being taken for granted and treated as a technological dinosaur by all the Client/Server programmers and website developers, he was finally getting some respect. He'd become a private consultant specializing in Year 2000 conversions.
Several years of this relentless, mind-numbing work had taken its toll on Jack. He began having anxiety dreams about the Year 2000. All he could think about was how he could avoid the year 2000 and all that came with it.
Jack decided to contact a company that specialized in cryogenics. He made a deal to have himself frozen until March 15th, 2000. The next thing he would know is he'd wake up in the year 2000; after the New Year celebrations and computer debacles; after the leap day. Nothing else to worry about except getting on with his life.
He was put into his cryogenic receptacle, the technicians set the revive date, he was given injections to slow his heartbeat to a bare minimum, and that was that.
The next thing that Jack saw was an enormous and very modern room filled with excited people. They were all shouting "I can't believe it!" and "It's a miracle" and "He's alive!". There were cameras (unlike any he'd ever seen) and equipment that looked like it came out of a science fiction movie.
Someone who was obviously a spokesperson for the group stepped forward. Jack couldn't contain his enthusiasm. "Is it over?" he asked. "Is the year 2000 already here? Are all the millennial parties and promotions and crises all over and done with?"
The spokesman explained that there had been a problem with the programming of the timer on Jack's cryogenic receptacle, it hadn't been year 2000 compliant. It was actually eight thousand years later, not the year 2000. Technology had advanced to such a degree that everyone had virtual reality interfaces which allowed them to contact anyone else on the planet.
"That sounds terrific," said Jack. "But I'm curious. Why is everybody so interested in me?"
"Well," said the spokesman. "The year 10000 is just around the corner, and it says in your files that you know COBOL".