Recursion's Curse

Cursive Having recently embarked on an ambitious project to teach my computer to do my writing for me, I was only mildly surprised when Paul Simon came to me, speaking words of wisdom. "I can read the writing on the wall," he said, which I immediately recognized as an upbeat reference to Pink Floyd's important work in the field of photography.

As my mind began to clear, the true significance of my vision propelled me toward the armchair I've come to think of as a place to sit, especially when I want to write a program. The trouble with computer-generated writing is knowing when to stop, by which I mean knowing when to tell the computer to stop, which is the same thing because computers only do what they're told. Aping the techniques of my elementary-school teachers, I instructed my computer to make letters one stroke at a time, which should have worked, but didn't.

A non-terminating loop resulted in the cursivus ad nauseam repetition of the principal portion of the letter, leaving no exit strategy with which to continue on to the final flourish. In other words, cursive writing became recursive writing, which, when you think about it, isn't at all the same thing. Tragically, the same Recursive iterative process responsible for early-onset stutteringitself a form of recursive speechtorpedoed my illustrious project before it could be put to proper use in the film industry.

Cursive speech, used to great comedic effect by pirates and other colorful characters, might have reached new heights with such a tool.



  1. I thought re-Corsairs spoke recursives, and called their computers, fondly, rebooty.

  2. Aye, and fond of pirated software (written in R, of course) they were, too!

  3. I'll never look at a Q again without appreciating its exit strategy! This piece was great fun, Jeff.

  4. Craig, I had great fun writing it, even though, thanks to that (s)curvy Q, I had to do all the work myself.