Meat, Meet Meat

This is one of my favorite pieces of humor on the internet. I strongly recommend reading it before reading my commentary below about my circumstances when I first read it, which only made it funnier for me.

Meat, by Terry Bisson

At the time that I first came across this hilarious short story, I had been working for a small Mom and Pop project based computer consulting company that had recently been bought by a large software vendor. The vendor had intended to get into project based consulting only to find out that they were unwilling to sign the type of contract it required.

So, they shifted all of us into their professional services division. This was a division of pure road warriors fixing whatever problem cropped up at a customer site as quickly as possible. My windowed office was quickly converted to a rental car. I was driving all over the tri-state area around New York City.

We would joke to each other that they need meat in Connecticut, you’re meat, you’re going. They need meat in New Jersey tomorrow, you’re meat. We would greet each other in hallways and say, “Meat, meet Meat.”, “Meat”, “Meat”. 🙂

Then we came across this and were all almost literally rolling on the floor laughing.


I miss that Mom and Pop shop. I never left that job. It left me. Many of the best and brightest people I’ve ever worked with were there. It was a wonderful place for honing technical skills. At a time when we were still using C language (not C++), we once had a code review during which we had a several minute discussion about the benefit of testing against FALSE and FAIL rather than TRUE and SUCCEED since the former two were zero. The compiler could generate a TSTL (test long) rather than a CMPL (compare long). The former just tests for zero; the latter must subtract two numbers then test for zero. Good point Rick.

Conversations about any level of programming that could improve code were common and we all improved our skills dramatically. It is one of the real benefits of code and design reviews. It also made working there a pleasure. Thanks Hal and Jennie for 9 years of the best job I’ve had.


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