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The Tragedy of the Computer Science Graduate Student (Avi Naiman)
(science, original, smirk)

Here's a parody I wrote for University of Toronto's Computer Science
Department's 1989 winter solstice party.

[Ric Hehner and Ken Sevcik administer the graduate program in our
department.  Derek Corneil is Dept. Chair.  NSERC is Canada's NSF.]

Have you ever wondered why graduate students stick around so long?  Why
they stand the long hours and sleepless nights? Why they don't simply
take a decent-paying job somewhere?  Here's a little insight into the
thought processes of an n'th year grad contemplating giving up the good
life of a student.

                       The Tragedy of the
                Computer Science Graduate Student

                      Year 'n'; checkpoint 'i'.

                           Avi Naiman
                       Copyright (C) 1989

To be a graduate student or not, that is the question:
Whether 'tis easier in the mind to suffer
The lines and arrows of outrageous graphs
Or to take arms against C and Turing
And by debugging end them.  To quit: to sleep.
No more; and by a sleep to say we end
The heart-ache and the thousand natural blocks
That code is heir to: 'tis a permutation
Devoutly to be wish'd.  To quit: to sleep.
To sleep? perchance to dream.  Ay, there's the rubout;
For in that sleep of life what jobs may come,
When we have shuffled off this graduate soil,
Must give us pause.  There's the respect
That makes calamity of so long a student life;
For who would bear the Rics and Kens,
Th' professor's wrongs, the committee's disinterest,
The supervisor's delay, the pangs of rejected chapters,
The spurns of NSERC that penniless does us make,
And the insolence of shared offices,
When he himself might his quietus make
with a bare resignation?  Who would grading bear,
To grunt and sweat 'neath piles of exam papers,
But that the dread of something after school,
The undiscover'd 9-to-5 life from whose world
No student returns, puzzles the will,
And makes us rather bear those ills we have
Than fly to others we know not of?
Thus, customer support doth make cowards of us all,
And thus, the native hue of high-resolution graphics,
does bind us tightly to our program,
with artificial visions of what may come;
And so we spend another year,
exploring research problems of great import.
Soft you now; the Chair Corneilia doth remind us
that in that future world of deadlines
we shall have no time to consider
Computer Science's most troubling vexation:
P or NP, that is the question.

(From the "Rest" of RHF)

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