From the Shaggydog listserv
Bill Gates died and, much to everyone’s surprise went to Heaven. When he got there, he had to wait in the reception area, which was about the size of Massachusetts.
There were millions of people living in tents. Food and water were being distributed from the backs of trucks, while staffers with clipboards slowly worked their way through the crowd.
Bill lived in a tent for three weeks until, finally, a staffer in his late teens approached him. The young man was wearing a blue T-shirt with the words TEAM PETER emblazoned on it in large yellow letters.
“Hello,” said the staffer in a bored voice. “My name is Gabriel and I’ll be your induction coordinator.”
Bill started to ask a question, but Gabriel interrupted him. “No, I’m not the Archangel Gabriel. I’m a guy from Philadelphia named Gabriel who died in a car wreck at 17. Now give me your name, last name first, unless you were Chinese, in which case it’s first name first.”
Gabriel started searching through the sheaf of papers on his clipboard, looking for Bill’s Record of Earthly Works.
“What’s going on here?” asked Bill. “Why are all these people here? Where’s St. Peter? Where are the pearly gates?”
Gabriel ignored the questions until he located Bill’s records. “It says here that you were the president of a large software company. Is that right?”
“Well do the math! When this St. Peter business started, it was easy. Only a hundred or so people died every day, and Peter could handle it by himself. But now there are over five billion people on earth. When God said to ‘go forth and multiply,’ he didn’t say ‘like rabbits!’ Ten thousand people die every hour, over a quarter-million a day. Do you think Peter can meet them all personally?”
“I guess not.”
“You guess right. So he had to franchise the operation. Now, Peter is the CEO of Team Peter Enterprises, Inc. Franchisees like me handle the actual inductions.”
Gabriel looked though his paperwork some more and then continued. “Your paperwork seems to be in order. And with a background like yours, you’ll be getting a plum job assignment.”
“Of course. Did you expect to spend eternity sitting on your bum and drinking ambrosia? Heaven is a big operation. You have to pull your weight around here!”
Gabriel took out a triplicate form, had Bill sign at the bottom, and then tore out the middle copy and handed it to Bill. “Take this down to induction center no. 23 and meet up with your occupational coordinator. His name is Abraham–and no, he’s not that Abraham.”
Bill walked to induction center no. 23 and met with Abraham after a mere six-hour wait.
“Heaven is centuries behind in building its data-processing infrastructure,” explained Abraham. “As you’ve seen, we’re still doing everything on paper. It takes us a week just to process new entries. Your job will be to supervise Heaven’s new data processing center. We’re building the largest computing facility in creation. Half a million computers connected by a multisegment fiber-optic network, all running into a back-end server network with a thousand CPUs on a gigabit channel. Fault tolerant, distributed processing, the works.”
Bill could barely contain his excitement. “Wow! What a great job! This is really Heaven!”
“We’re just finishing construction, and we’ll be starting operations soon. Would you like to go see the center now?”
Abraham and Bill caught the shuttle bus and went to Heaven’s new data processing center. It was a truly huge facility, a hundred times bigger than the Astrodome. Workers were crawling all over the place, getting the miles of fiber optic cables properly installed.
But the center was dominated by the computers. Half a million computers, arranged nearly row-by-row, half a million … Macintoshes … all running Apple software! Not a PC in sight! Not a single byte of Microsoft code!
The thought of spending eternity using products he had spent his whole life working to destroy was too much for Bill.
“What about PCs???” he exclaimed. “What about Windows??? Excel??? Word???”
“You’re forgetting something,” said Abraham.
“What’s that?” asked Bill plaintively.
“This is Heaven,” explained Abraham. “If you want to build a data processing center based on PCs running Windows, then you’ll have to go to someplace else!”