The Coffee House
A Pattern of Behavior
It was a gray, gray in early October. The time of glorious sunny crisp afternoons
had passed and the time for cruddy, depressing, dead-bugs-in-your-boots dusks
had begun. Sid and Zeke and everyone in the coffee house were darned depressed.
"Darned depressed!" muttered Zeke.
"Antsy," groaned Sid.
"Lonely," moaned Lefty, clicking his teeth and twitching.
Brenda and Lacey were bored. They had installed a Java kiosk so that the
cowboys could generally order their own coffees, and except for the occasional
mochachinacummulonimbus concoction, there wasn't much for them to do but entertain
the troops. They looked around, looked at each other, and Brenda said,
"So, you think it's story time?"
Lacey looked around again, thought a bit, and nodded. "We might as well
let'em know about the whole thing."
Brenda got up and said, "Hey y'all cowboys! You look like you could use
a little cheerin' up, a little story time."
Sid looked up, hopefully. Zeke asked, "You aren't going to try to give us
EJB training without us knowin' it, are yah? Cuz that wasn't a nice thing,
not at all."
"Nope, nothin' like that. This is a story, and it's gossip, too. The best
kind: software gossip."
"Alrighty!" There were a few whoops and few tired nods, and the dozen or
so cowboys gathered around Lacey and Brenda.
"They're going to tell! They're going to tell!" A bedraggled cowboy at the
back named Nigel whispered from the back.
"All righty then. Here you go. So, you know that there Gang, them four you
think are so special with their software design patterns and their Mediator
and Proxy and all them there reusable solutions to recurring problems?"
Mumbleumble, the cowboys agreed. Sid sang out, "That Gang's a genius! They
musta worked for years on this software design patterns stuff to come up with
that system o'patterns!"
"Well, it ain't quite like that. You remember how Lacey and me told you
about them dating design patterns we come up with?"
"Yep, shore do," nodded Sid enthusiastically. "Didn't you come up with them
all outa your pretty little heads?"
Lacey sighed. "Well, that one we did, yes. But you know what? That whole
thing about Software Design Patterns is just a big crock. It was all just
a big fat red heifer, to fool us all into not knowing about what they was
really working on, which was actually Dating Design Patterns the whole time.
The whole Gang of Four plus a bunch of other folks came up with Dating Design
Patterns when they was lonely young cowboys out in Deadwood!"
Murmmermurmer! replied the cowboys. "What the dickens you talkin' about!?"
yelled Zeke. "That there Gang never had a thing to do with Dating Patterns!"
"They sure did," continued Brenda. "They were a bunch of lonely cowboys,
workin' hard every day and meeting no ladies at all on the weekends, such
as they had. At least not young ladies who they could bring home to momma.
And so one night over the camp fire, Dead-Eye Erich says to the rest of the
guys, 'Hey, you know, we're smart guys, right? We can find cows where no one
else can. We can sense which way a steer's going to bolt before he knows himself.
So how come we ain't finding any lady company/'"
"And Coolhand Christopher replied,'" Lacey returned, "'You know, Dead-Eye,
you're right. Me, I am a downright genius at recognizing consistent shrub
architectures within which cows hide, breed, and chew cud. I find there are
consistent shrub architectures on which one can count. So one would have to
depend on the fact that there are places where nice young ladies hang out.
And like you said, if we can figure out cattle, especially them twitchy dairy
cows, we can figure out how ladies act and how to act to make'em act all
calm and affectionate.'"
"'Well then! Let's figure it out!' is what Erich said back, and they all
saddled up and him and Grady and the whole gang, six or eight of'em, rode
back to Dodge City where there were actually ladies. And they rode all the
way back to Kansas City, and all over the west, and they figured out these
patterns for how to date. They had patterns called Mediator, and Proxy, and
Half Bad Boy Plus Protocol, and pretty soon they become known far and wide
across the west as the most deadly ladykilling cowboys and dating architects
the world had ever seen."
"You dated one of them for a few months, didn't you, Brenda?" smiled Lacey.
"Ohhhh yes! It was marvelous, but then he had to move on, and I also had
a sneaking feeling there was a little multi-threading going on. So we ended
it, but, you know, amicable like."
"But--but, if they were so all fired hot, why didn't they tell the rest
of us cowboys how to do this!!! They can't need all the women for themselves,
can they?" Lefty was outraged and a little red in the face. The other cowboys
were getting tense too; it looked like a room full of Sun Java programmers
at a Microsoft Hate Rally.
"Now, keep your pants on," cautioned Brenda. "When the gang was all busy
with their ladies, they weren't wrassling cattle or coding Java. The .NET
programmers and the outlaws started taking over. And nobody was colonizing
new states or Winning the West. The whole central part of the US was turning
into a wimpy Eastern-type place."
"I remember that!" gasped Zeke. "All the papers started talking about a
new dark ages out west, and one rancher actually had to apply to the city
council for permission to have a manure pile. It was a horrible time."
"Exactly," said Brenda. "And so when the Gang realized that when cowboys
have social lives, the world goes straight to hell. So they made a pact not
to continue their glorious date-filled lifestyle anymore. They buried their
ingenious but dangerous dating design patterns deep below the earth (at www.datingdesignpatterns.com)
and then they came up with a red heifer sort of project to throw to people
who'd heard about their patterns. They pretended that all the time they'd
been busy with software design patterns and in order to convince people
they published a book with fake software patterns."
"And boy, were they surprised when it took off! They were amused but heck,
if it worked, well, that was fine with them. And having Java ranchers all
occupied with software design patterns didn't have the same risks that having'em
all out salsa dancing did. So they just let the whole thing go."
"Y'all just seemed so unhappy and bored tonight that we thought we'd tell
you about it. Next time you go into Dodge, you take one of two o'them there
patterns and you try them out. Heck, we'll implement Bridge Interpreter
or Trojan Proxy with you and help you out a little.
The cowboys were elated. Frowns turned to smiles, combs were brought out
and applied, and Lefty pulled out his notebook and wrote "buy new suit!" in
big underlined letters.
There was just one mystery.
Sid looked up and frowned, puzzled. "So...how do you know all this, Brenda?"
You could hear an exception drop.
"Well..." she smiled, "let's just say that John talks in his sleep."
Solveig Haugland is an independent trainer
and author near Boulder, Colorado. Her businesses include GetOpenOffice.org for those switching
from Microsoft Office (www.getopenoffice.org); Techwriter Stuff: The Single Source,
tshirts and posters for techwriters and those who love them; and of course
Dating Design Patterns,
the original reusable solutions to recurring problems.
"Dating Design Patterns" will be published this fall through www.datingdesignpatterns.com
and other sources.